Atlas-Agena rocket launch for Gemini 8
Atlas-Agena rocket launch for Gemini 8. The Atlas booster was used to propel the Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) into space at 15:00 UTC on 16th March 1966. The GATV was used to dock with the Gemini 8 space capsule, which was launched at 16:41 UTC, in Earth orbit. Gemini 8 was piloted by Armstrong and David Scott, and achieved the first rendezvous and docking of two spacecraft. Following successful docking, however, the Gemini 8 capsule began rolling uncontrollably. The crew immediately undocked and made an emergency return to Earth just 10 hours after launch. The Agena remained in space until its orbit decayed, at which point it re-entered Earth's atmosphere on 15th September 1967. Photographed at NASA's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (now Kennedy Space Centre) in Florida, USA
© NASA/VRS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Yuri Gagarin, Soviet cosmonaut, artwork
W1-4 Gagarin portrait on white background
Yuri Alekseyevich 9 March 1934 â€" 27 March 1968), Hero of the Soviet Union, was a Soviet cosmonaut. On 12 April 1961, he became the first human in outer space and the first to orbit the Earth. He received medals from around the world for his pioneering tour in space.On 12 April 1961, Gagarin became the first man to travel into space, launching to orbit aboard the Vostok 3KA-3 (Vostok 1). His call sign in this flight was Kedr (Cedar). During his flight, Gagarin famously whistled the tune "The Motherland Hears, The Motherland Knows"). The first two lines of the song are: "The Motherland hears, the Motherland knows/Where her son flies in the sky". This patriotic song was written by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1951 (opus 86). Around the same time, some Western sources claimed that Gagarin, during his space flight, had made the comment, "I don't see any God up here." However, no such words appear in the verbatim record of Gagarin's conversations with the Earth during the spaceflight. In a 2006 interview a close friend of Gagarin, Colonel Valentin Petrov, stated that Gagarin never said such words, and that the phrase originated from Nikita Khrushchev's speech at the plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU, where the anti-religious propaganda was discussed. In a certain context Khrushchev said, "Gagarin flew into space, but didn't see any God there".
In 1968 Gagarin became deputy training director of the Star City cosmonaut training base. At the same time, he began to re-qualify as a fighter pilot. On 27 March 1968, while on a routine training flight from Chkalovsky Air Base, he and flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin (Seregin) died in a MiG-15UTI crash near the town of Kirzhach. Gagarin and Seryogin were buried in the walls of the Kremlin on Red Square
© Detlev van Ravenswaay
Vostok 1 spacecraft in orbit, artwork
Vostok 1 spacecraft in orbit. Computer artwork of the Vostok 1 capsule that carried Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968) on the first manned flight in space, in orbit around the Earth. Vostok-1 was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on 12 April 1961. The flight lasted 1 hour and 48 minutes from lift-off to touch-down, and made one orbit of Earth. Gagarin died on 27th March 1968 in a plane crash while training for another space mission. The writing is a quote from Gagarin, and reads: "When I flew around the Earth with the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet looks. Mankind, let us save the beauty, enlarge and not destroy. Yuri Gagarin, April 20th, 1961."
© Detlev van Ravenswaay