Today, Russia celebrates Cosmonautics Day (День Космона́втики), also known as The International Day of Human Space Flight. On April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut (Do you want to know why Russians call their astronauts cosmonauts? Read THIS BLOG) Yuri Gagarin made the world’s first orbital flyby of the Earth (Земля́). Exactly twenty years later, the first American “Space Shuttle” was launched. Since then, we have the “World’s Space party” – Yuri’s Night. Celebrate it with us!
Ironically, just today, I had an inspiring conversation with a brilliant person. Leonid is studying the topic of astronautics and even plans to write a book. He told me incredible facts about the life and traditions of Russian cosmonauts (космона́вты). I am happy to share them with you.
Poyekhali! – Off we go!
With that one Russian word, meaning “Let’s go!” Yuri Gagarin blasted off from the Baikonur. Wernher von Braun is a German and then an American designer of rocket (раке́та) and space (ко́смос) technology.
In the US, he is considered the “father” of the American space program.
The first Soviet P1 missiles (раке́ты) were built according to his designs for the V-2 rocket. Sergei Korolev, a Soviet scientist, designer of rocket and space systems, and the founder of practical cosmonautics. Despite his achievements, he was arrested by the NKVD for belonging to a sabotage organization.
Two days before the historic flight (полёт), there were only two applicants – Yuri Gagarin and German Titov. The final choice fell on the first one. And the reason for this was Yuri’s photogenic smile (улы́бка).
After all, he was filmed by photographers around the world. Yuri Gagarin landed in the Saratov region. At the landing site, a pillar was installed with a sign on which it was written: “Do not touch! 04/12/61 10 h 55 m Moscow time.” Gagarin always had a passion for cars. The French government presented him with a Matra Djet sports car, which later won in Formula 1. This model was the only one in the Soviet Union. Soviet and Russian cosmonauts have a tradition to watch the film “White Sun of the Desert” (“Бе́лое со́лнце пусты́ни”) before launching from Baikonur (“Байкону́р”).
Using the film as an example, the astronauts were trained on how to properly work with the camera. By the way, astronauts from other countries also have to observe this tradition. The first rocket engine (дви́гатель) was invented by the revolutionary Kibalchich, sitting in prison. He took part in the assassination attempt on Tsar Alexander II.
But his apparatus (аппара́т) was never built. Yuri Malenchenko is the first person to marry in space on August 10, 2003. His fiancee Ekaterina Dmitrieva was in Texas while he was on the International Space Station 240 miles over New Zealand. Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka set a world record (реко́рд) for the time spent in space – as much as 878 days in total. Before him, the first place belonged to Valery Polyakov – 438 days.
On April 9, the Soyuz-2.1a launch (запуска́ть) vehicle with the Soyuz MS-18 manned transport vehicle had its last launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome (космодро́м).
The crew will have to make two spacewalks. The Progress MS-14 was launched on April 30 of the last year. It is scheduled to remain docked (пристыко́ван) at the station (ста́нция) through April 30, 2021.
The history of Russian cosmonautics is definitely worthy of attention. In THIS BLOG, Zhenya briefly described several historical events. Russia is justly proud of its achievements in astronautics.
Congratulations to all people whose daily work is related to the sky, aviation (авиа́ция), and astronautics!