Wednesday, April 12, 2006

April 12, 1961: Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin Makes One Swift Orbit For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind

MOSCOW (AP) -- "Russian President Vladimir Putin chatted Wednesday with the U.S.-Russian crew on the international space station via a televised hookup marking the 45th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight to space, wishing them a successful mission and hailing international cooperation in the cosmos.

"It is a pleasure to see that representatives of Russia and the United States are working together on the same platform, the international space station," Putin told Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov and U.S. astronaut Jeff Williams as Russia marked Cosmonauts Day, marking Gagarin's pioneering orbit around the Earth on April 12, 1961.

Twenty years later, on the same day, NASA launched its first space shuttle -- STS-1.

Putin asked Williams through an interpreter how the Russian Soyuz spacecraft compares to the shuttle.

Williams answered him in Russian, saying he liked both ships.

"Soyuz is a very good ship, but flying the shuttle, of course, is also very interesting," Williams said. "They complement each other."

The American space program has depended on the Russians for cargo and astronaut delivery since the February 2003 Columbia disaster grounded the shuttle fleet." ...

Associated Press "Space station crew marks Gagarin's flight" April 12, 2006 via International

Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin [1934-1968] in 1961.

On April 12, 1961, Vostok 1 circled the earth in one hour and 48 minutes.

Photo credit: With thanks.


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