A day to celebrate and remember…

On this date last year, I wrote the following:

On this date, April 12th, in 1961, Soviet Cosmonaut Yury Alexseyevich Gagarin became the first human to travel in space. Yuri’s Night celebrations are hosted around the world on this date each year to celebrate this event. Congratulations Comrade!

Another anniversary of note on this date was the maiden flight (in 1981) of the first Space Shuttle, Columbia.

And finally, this date (in 2018) was the initial hoped-for ‘start of service’ date for the LiftPort Space Elevator. Alas…

(Picture credits: Yuri Gagarin via Tass/Sovfoto. Columbia via NASA. Click on the thumbnails for slightly larger versions)

Reader Dan Spencer added the following comment:

In January, more than forty five years after the Evil Empire made Yuri Gagarin a hero of the Soviet Union, Pravda reported that Gagarin was not the first man in space, he was just the first man to survive a flight into space:

Gagarin was not the first man to fly to space. Three Soviet pilots died in attempts to conquer space before Gagarin’s famous space flight, Mikhail Rudenko, senior engineer-experimenter with Experimental Design Office 456 (located in Khimki, in the Moscow region) said on Thursday. According to Rudenko, spacecraft with pilots Ledovskikh, Shaborin and Mitkov at the controls were launched from the Kapustin Yar cosmodrome (in the Astrakhan region) in 1957, 1958 and 1959. “All three pilots died during the flights, and their names were never officially published,” Rudenko said.

If this is true, and it has to be because it is from Pravda, it should in no way diminish the significance of the Gargarin’s successful flight. If Gagarin knew of the deadly attempts by Ledovskikh, Shaborin and Mitkov, we should be even more impressed with Gagarin’s courage.

As noted earlier, tonight is Yuri’s Night – if you know of a party/celebration being held in your area, go and join and spend some time with your fellow space geeks…