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First Orbit November 9, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, The Left.

I only just discovered this, two years old and available online, a documentary film entitled ‘First Orbit’ which matches the orbit of the first manned space flight around Earth by Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin in the Vostok 1 spacecraft in April 1961.

It’s a remarkable achievement, an hour and forty five minutes long, which matches footage from the original mission (and where not available footage from other Soviet launches) with film taken from the International Space Station’s observation cupola. The exchanges between Sergei Korolev, “father” of the Soviet space programme and a commanding historical figure (who ironically was hardly known about at the time and whose purging and incarceration in a gulag in the late 1930s/early 1940s is a text book example of the sheer stupidity of the Stalinist period, not least in that it set back the Soviet rocket program by years at the very time the Nazi’s were forging ahead), and Gagarin are oddly touching.

It’s also very strange to watch, because it is slooowww on certain levels, with an almost hallucinatory quality as the surface of the Earth unrolls before the viewer.

Funny too to see that Gagarin (or the spacecraft) was code named Cedar in radio communications.


1. LeftAtTheCross - November 9, 2013

Must watch that later. What a hero Gagarin was. Just bringing it back to Italy for a moment but we were on holidays in Umbria a few years ago and there was a street in the village named Gagarin St., a wonderful sign of PCI hegemony if ever there was one. Viva Gagarin!


2. richotto - November 9, 2013

I remember seeing a documenatary about the Soviet space program which said that Gagarins small stature is what secured his place as the first man in space.


3. Eamonncork - November 10, 2013

Initially they were going to send Yuri Publicsectorkov but he had grown too bloated to fit in the rocket from eating all the food of his comrade Boris Privatesectorkin. Only when they chose the latter to participate in the mission was the economy, sorry the rocket, free to soar gloriously to the heights. There’s a message there.


micheal2og - November 11, 2013

Looking at in You Tube the other night. Then saw this post.
I was only a garsún when it happened but what a memory it was.
Fantastic! Thanks guys!


WorldbyStorm - November 11, 2013

I wasn’t even born, but as LATC says, Gagarin is a hero, and all the more so because as accounts note he was unusually quiet the day of the launch. My God, if that’s all he was it shows an iron will and… well… just a great human being and, for all its flaws (and I’m far from blind to them) a tribute to the USSR.


Tomboktu - November 11, 2013

Now, now Eamonncork, that’s bold 🙂


4. My Blog Awards for 2013! | www.seanmunger.com - December 30, 2013

[…] and quirky asides on all manner of topics, like weird 1970s Soviet sci-fi kids films and retro space missions. Cedar Lounge is an example of a blog with a primary mission but which isn’t afraid to branch […]


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