On April 12, 1961, Yury Gagarin made history by being the first human to orbit the earth.
As a precaution, engineers at the Soviet Academy of Sciences had an onboard computer, as well as mission control steer the craft, “Vostok 1”. They did this because the feared that being in the weightlessness of space, you might be disabled or not be able to move very much. He wouldn’t need any food for his single orbit trip, but scientists wanted to know if he could eat in the weightlessness of space.
Before Gagarin climbed aboard the rocket, he made a speech. His speech said things such as how beautiful a moment this was, to go into space. He was glad to, “meet nature face to face, in an unprecedented encounter.”
As Gagarin’s rocket accelerated towards space, it reached a peak of 5 g’s, meaning Gagarin felt five times heavier that his normal weight. As Gagarin passed through the lower atmosphere, the nose pointed canopy separated, exposing the “Vostok 1” capsule, allowing Gagarin to see the dark blue sky turn into a black space as he was shot into orbit, around the earth.
14 minutes after liftoff, Gagarin reported,” Separation from the carrier rocket completed” Gagarin tested his food and water samples. He reported no side effects to the weightlessness. As Gagarin passed over the Atlantic, he thought of his mother and how she would react to the news of the first space flight… especially since her son was the one up there flying it.
She was unaware about Gagarin being involved in space exploration until the news broke.
At about 10:15 a. m., just after Gagarin started passing over Africa, the autopilot turned “Vostok 1” around and fired the rocket, which would take Vostok 1 out of orbit. This was a very suspenseful and nervous time for Yury Gagarin and mission control, for two out of the five test flights, the rockets did not fire correctly and the flights ended in failure.
Luckily, this time, it worked correctly and Vostok 1 came out of orbit and was slowed down by 350 miles per hour. As the capsule came out of orbit, the equipment section was dropped, because it was no longer needed. Now all that was left of the 125-ft. rocket, launched just over an hour ago, was a 7 1/2-ft diameter capsule. As it fell 17,000 mph. towards earth, Gagarin experienced 10Gs, and felt like a 1,500-pound brick falling from the sky.
With a flight time of about 1 hour and 48 min, Gagarin landed safely in Siberia.
Years later, Gagarin tragically died in a test plane crash.