Sixty years ago Soviet cosmonaut YURI GAGARIN made the first ever flight to space. Now the event has partially lost the romantic air, but at that time everyone here felt entering a new era. The feeling remained many years on: I can record space-mania governing the country back in seventies.
By the link below you can find minutes of the flight which actually took less than two hours.
When I was still a child, I lived in a small town close to Moscow which embodied a plant connected with the space industry. And several times a week I took a watching point on a balcony of my flat facing the main street of the town watching a convoy of trucks carring something covered with tarpaulin. It was absolutely impossible to sort out what it was, but it gave me a proud feeling of being a part of space conquest.
Now space programmes in Russia go on, and Russia remains one of the space leaders. But public interest to the matter is not so great as before.
This year anniversary is widely celebrated in the media. I can not record such kind of celebration ten years ago. Though, in my opinion, 50-years anniversary looks more for an eye than 60-years. May be the reason of it is the lack of dramatic news which we see at the moment. So it is necessary to fill the information gap.
When we talk about the first flight to space we should not forger about the person who made it really possible. I am talking about the Chief Designer Sergey Korolev. For many years he was not as known to the public as Gagarin. And his fate was really not so easy.
In 1938 during the period of Stalin’s terror, he was put on trial and sentenced to 10 years of inprisonment. He spent one year in prison, and only after that was allowed to return to work of a designer under leadership of the famous designer Tupolev, who became later on well known as the farther of many civil and military aircrafts under abbreviation TU. But as a matter of fact, they both remained imprisoned, and worked at that time at one of the special prison design bureaus known in Russia under the name of “sharashka”. Such bureaus housed talented enginees, designer and scientists who had been recetnly imprisoned. They were returned fron far away prisons as they were working on subjects of special importance for the state. Korolev worked there till 1944 when he was released under special desicion of Stalin. He continued to work on the rocket programme as a free man.
His fate illustrates contraversial character of that period. On one hand, the country gained a great success in different areas, on the other hand, it was done on behalf of thousands of people. My opinion is, of course, that life of each person is the greatest value. But … a thought is creeping into my mind … what if such a tough rule was the only way to make the country resistable to attack of Germany during coming war … and what if such a sacrifice of thousands hepled to save millions …
Well, as we say it in Russia, history doesn’t know the subjunctive mood. In any case, we today all we have a great anniversary. And, no doubt, that event will be celebrated for ages. Computers come and go, but space will always remain.