The First Manned Space Flight

On April 12, 1961 the first manned space flight was performed by the  Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. This is one of the photographs he took from space:

The sign says: V.I.Lenin Lived and Worked Here Between 1870 and 1924.

Cosmonauts loved to stop by and chat with V.I.Lenin, get some cosmonauting advice and encouragement.

Lenin’s Visitors. (Soviet Cosmonaut standing on the left)

When the Soviet People found out that the first spaceflight was a success, they jumped on their bicycles and rushed to the Red Square carrying signs “Everyone to space!”.

© Time Inc. James Whitmore

And those who didn’t have the bicycles just started dancing…

© Time Inc. James Whitmore

…or just marching and being happy…

© Time Inc. James Whitmore

…or accordion playing.

© Time Inc. James Whitmore

Gagarin looked at them from his TV and smiled. He was really tired. And wanted to find a real toilet. Because there was no toilet on his spaceship and he was holding it in all day.

© Time Inc. James Whitmore

Read my old post with photos of the real 1961 Soviet newspaper.

Oscar-nominated short animation “Gagarin”:


  • burrowowl

    If the USSR hadn’t collapsed twenty years ago, we’d probably have boots on Mars by now. The space race was probably the best thing the cold war brought us; two superpowers bending their wills towards something cool instead of just coming up with more ways to dominate or kill each other.

    • Agreed; I think the Space Race was the best thing that happened between the two nations in that era. More useful tech got advanced -in both countries- in that compressed time period than arguably has in any comparable time period since. Plus? It was fun! Although I remember every adult being totally p[issed you guys got up there first…
      Competition; Breakfast of Champions.

      • USSR did it INSTEAD of improving people’s lives, money had to come from somewhere, so people still live in crappy conditions to this day. outdoor plumbing and all.