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ISS Space Science

Celebrating Yuri Gagarin's 1961 Flight Into Space 124

DeviceGuru writes "The 50th anniversary of the first-ever manned space flight, by Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, is being celebrated on April 12 with a two-day early activation of the ARISSat-1 ham radio satellite aboard the International Space Station. If you can get your hands on a scanner or ham handy-talkie you can join in the celebration by listening to prerecorded messages from the satellite as it orbits the globe tonight and tomorrow."
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Celebrating Yuri Gagarin's 1961 Flight Into Space

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  • I think the inventory of satellite changed our life a lot, it is worthy of celebrating.
  • Here's a free comic book related to this event: CBZ [] or PDF []
  • I think this is the primary scientific/engineering landmark of the 20th century, followed distantly by the Internet.
    • I would say the Wright Brothers' first powered flight outranks this from an engineering landmark point of view. Aeroplanes have had a much bigger impact on the world throughout the 20th century, while space flight's importance is great but more specialized.
      • Powered flight was the next step in flight. People have been flying for decades with unpowered aircraft. This is 2 years after the first man made device was put into orbit.
        In the first years of the 20th century everyone and their grandmother were making powered aircraft. This was proper science.
      • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @06:22AM (#35791062) Homepage

        I beg to differ. I am using space flight services far more often than airplane services. I am using weather forecasts, satellite TV and GPS on a daily basis, while I don't fly that often or get airmail or are buying stuff transported by airplanes.

      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

        From an engineering standpoint, once the internal combustion engine came along, powered flight wasn't that great of a technical challenge. Powered space flight was a much more challenging technical achievement (as evidenced by how many engineers it took working from the V-2 to Sputnik).

        • Landmarks of the 20th century, please. Try again.
          • Powered space flight WAS a 20th century landmark.
            • So was powered flight, which is why I proposed the Wright brothers flight (1905 -> a full century of developments in transport, communications (post), mapping, warfare, etc, vs 1961 -> half a century of space based technologies such as communications and mapping).
    • As opposed to the development of the computer?
  • ... bending spoons in zero G heaven.
  • by commlinx ( 1068272 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @04:18AM (#35790540) Journal

    The page [] includes the transmission time in UTC and information on some of the other telemtry channels. They begin Monday 11 April 2011 at 14:30 UTC and continue until 10:30 UTC on 13 April 2011. I just tried the 145.950 MHz FM downlink as it passed over Australia without luck, but was using a fairly crappy wideband scanner antenna indoors. I might give it a try tomorrow with a 150MHz antenna which is closest narrowband antenna I've got.

  • by captainpanic ( 1173915 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @04:46AM (#35790650)

    Happy 50th space anniversary... (although I think that it's a little hypocritical to celebrate 50 revolutions of the earth around the sun, when the whole point of it is to be less earth-bound).

    -- In Soviet Russia...Rockets launch you!

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      when the whole point of it is to be less earth-bound)

      Who said that was the point? Frankly, satellites have provided me with WAY more benefit than any moon landing ever did. AFAIC, *that* was the point.

    • You're an animal. A human to be specific. You've evolved and internalized via biological functions all manner of earth-bound cycles. You are not an interstellar space spore. The idea that we can just get rid of the year as a metric because of a guy orbiting the earth is a bit silly and certainly is not "the point."

      Maybe in some transhuman future where everyone lives off-planet and we control our genes and biology. But right now? Naww. Monkeyman needs a calendar.

      • by sznupi ( 719324 )
        Though such fairly precise Earth-bound timekeeping seems fairly strange for monkeyman... they went strangely overboard with watching the cycles. They even know exactly the day of their birthdays now. And intoxicate themselves on anniversary. Strange.
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      His fight doesn't count by FIA rules. For a flight to be official the pilot must land with his craft.
      Yes shameless nitpicking that no including myself should give any weight too but someone was going to say it so I might as well get it out of the way.

      The only downside is that Gargarin is not with us today. He is exploring beyond the rim.

  • This video recreation is amazing: []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @05:02AM (#35790724)

    Some translation of conversation just before flight between Korolev an Gagarin:

    Korolev: Yuri, then I want you just to recall that after a moment's willingness to take place six minutes and will start before the flight so that you do not worry. Reception.
    Gagarin: I understand, I am perfectly calm!
    Queens: There's a packing tube - lunch, dinner and breakfast.
    Gagarin: Clear
    Korolev: Sausage, Bean there, and jam for tea. 63 pieces, you will be thick.
    Gagarin: heh heh
    Korolev: After arrival, eat everything at once - instructs Korolev.
    ->>Gagarin retains a sense of humor:
    Gagarin: Main thing there is sausages to vodka drink with.
    Everyone laughs
    Korolev: Damn, and he writes all, the bastard! - Jokingly resents Korolev, knowing that the tape of Gagarin captures every word.
    Everyone laughs

    Original you can find in
    sorry for bad translation ;))

  • ... listening to prerecorded messages from the satellite as it orbits ...

    It was all a fake! Well, at least we have Buzz Aldrin, ready to turn any impertinent folk's face into a Picasso, if the journalist claims that the Moon Landing was a fake. If I had traveled to the Moon and back, I would also be so onery, in case someone asked me if it was a fake. Oh, you could check it yourselves . . . one of the Moon missions left a mirror on the surface of the Moon. All you need to do, is to shine a laser on it.

    Oh, and one more thing. The US Space Program was really tits up . . . even

    • Oh, you could check it yourselves . . . one of the Moon missions left a mirror on the surface of the Moon. All you need to do, is to shine a laser on it.

      Hardly evidence, given that even the biggest conspiracy theorists probably believe that there were successful unmanned moon landings. Not that I don't think men landed on the moon, but it's difficult to conclusively prove if you have zero trust in official sources and somehow discount all the photographs and video.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      The US space program wasn't in bad shape at all by then. Sputnik had kicked it into gear back in 1957. You have to look at the military side to understand. By 1961 the US was actually far ahead im ICBMs, SLBM and Bombers. The R-7 was a massive impractical ICBM that took a week to prep for a launch but it was the only thing the USSR had that had a chance of threatening the US with. In 1957 the US was working on making practical ICBMs and smaller warheads. It had no military need for anything like the R-7. By

      • by sznupi ( 719324 )
        R-7 was the first operational ICBM... (not like it was practical in that role of course, not like the "missile gap" wasn't a myth; at least it turned out to be a fabulous launcher)

        And they had practical ones quite soon afterwards. Probably deciding to jump on the next obvious stage, not having huge bomber force ("bomber gap" also being a myth...)
    • by sznupi ( 719324 )
      "German scientists" was much less true for the Soviets, actually; they got mostly just technicians, and send them back to Germany long before sputnik.

      Their record afterwards [] suggests they have a few tricks of their own in this field, for some reason (check also the engine of Atlas V, and whole first stage (tankage & engine) of Taurus 2)
  • There is a song about commemorating the event here []
  • Or, if you don't want to sit at home listening to the radio, you can see if there is a Yuri's Night [] party near you. Most were over the weekend, but there are still a few the night of.

    Also, it's the anniversary of the first US space shuttle launch.

    • by sznupi ( 719324 )
      I would see the anniversary of STS launch as something... sad. Set us back probably at least a decade. With automatic rendezvous & docking done in the 60s, it was obsolete before it seriously got on drawing boards (vs. just attaching some small tug to your cargo and not wasting most of launch mass for airframe)
  • Today is the day NASA is expected to announce who will receive the retired space shuttles [].
  • I would also like to recognize Sergei Korolev [], a name that's sadly unknown in the United States, Without him, there might never have been a space race, or satellites, or a man on the moon, etc. He's the guy who achieved the miracle of talking Kruschev into a space program. He also taught himself rocketry, worked his way through school as a common laborer, served time in Stalin's gulags, and headed the team that recreated the V-2 rocket in the Soviet Union after the War.

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @09:33AM (#35792480) Homepage Journal

    It's pretty much only the Russians still launching men/women into space. The US Space program is essentially, over.

    NASA's plans are up in the air, muddled and without focus, liable to change on political whim, and even when they go forward, it will be hopelessly underfunded and probably a disaster.

    Meanwhile, the Russians are using pretty much the exact same technology they were 50 years ago, and continuing to launch. NASA has to buy seats on the next few years of flights if we want to get anybody into or out of the ISS.

    Maybe SpaceX will change things for the better, but what I find so sad is that the USA went to the moon, and now our country is just a shadow of it's former self, bloated, dull, and stupid. We're the Roman Empire waiting to fall. Nero is fiddling.

    Here's to Yuri and Valentina though. I remember pointing out on Slashdot years ago, when Star Trek Enterprise premeired, how the title sequence avoided the Russians, even though it was trying to show the advancement of human space flight.

    I suggest someone change that title sequence, because all the advancement in that area is coming from someplace else, Russia, China, India -- but likely NOT the USA.

    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      The US Space program is essentially, over.

      Manned program. Which is a bit sad, but the science goes on. And more so the military & intelligence side. Just without the PR program.

  • Not to take away from Gagarin and the rest of the Soviet space program's accomplishment of putting a man in space, orbiting the earth, and returning safely, but it's important to remember he may not have been the first man in space. []

    Considering the memory hole that the Soviet Union was, it's impossible to say if any of those are real or not (some are obviously hoaxes); but it's equally impossible to disprove at least some of them.

    • Kewl story on the Lost Cosmonauts, thanks for posting.. See also this recent news blurb [] (and book []) about the cosmonaut Vladimir Kamarov, allegedly the cosmonaut that Robert Heinlein heard about during his visit to the USSRin 1960.
    • by Figec ( 20690 )

      I believe the Lost Cosmonaut folklore to have some truth to it as someone I know and trust who grow up in the Soviet Union has related to me how he vividly recalls an episode where a classmate lost his Cosmonaut dad to a failed space shot, and that this event was covered up and kept quiet.

      • The reason why it's very unlikely is because the Soviet space program was already extremely fast-paced. It's hard to believe that there would be time for numerous additional flights before Vostok-1.

  • Yuri's Night folks are giving up copies of Martian Summer for a limited time. They're trying to create a space review mob to get space topics trending. Here is the link if you are interested: []
  • Eagerly hoping to hear something!

    73, KB7UJR
  • If there is one thing that is amazing is there are (were) celebrations of a Russian (or precisely Soviet) space accomplishment at a NASA facility. This was last year at NASA Ames Research Center, this year budget issues prevented this year's Yuri's Night but they had Yuri's Education Day (

    Last year's event had all kinds of people you typically don't see at a NASA facility. Plus the music was really loud with all the flashing lights, etc. in same building that housed research aircra

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