50 YEARS OF MANNED SPACE FLIGHT
Isn’t it hard to believe that with all human accomplishments in space, the entire history of manned spaceflight is still less than a lifespan of an average person? This year marks the 50 years of manned spaceflight with the anniversary of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first ever orbit of the Earth by a human.
Gagarin's orbit of the Earth was a major catalyst for the space race that eventually led America to shoot for the moon. Gagarin's first flight and the first satellite in space - Sputnik 1 - were the highlights of the Russian space program. According to reports one major reason Russia was able to beat America into space was the way NASA had its program for manned flight laid out. NASA wanted ground stations all around the world so astronauts could be in constant communication. Russia sent Gagarin into orbit using ground stations only in Russia so the capsule was out of communication for a long period of time.
Gagarin's life was cut short on March 27, 1968 when he and a flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin were killed when a MiG-15UTI crashed during a routine flight near Kirzhach. Gagarin was at the time training for his second space flight. Ironically, Gagarin's superiors had tried to keep him from flying out of fear that the national hero would be killed in a crash.
accomplishment [əˈkʌmplɪʃmənt] teljesítmény, eredmény
manned [mænd] ember vezette/irányította
spaceflight [speɪs flaɪt] űrrepülés
lifespan [ˈlaɪfspæn] élettartam
catalyst [ˈkætəlɪst] katalizátor
satellite [ˈsætəlaɪt] műhold
ground station [ɡraʊnd ˈsteɪʃn̩] földi állomás
flight instructor [flaɪt ɪnˈstrʌktə] repülés oktató
superior [suːˈpɪərɪə] felettes
to keep somebody from doing something [tu kiːp ˈsʌmbədi frəm ˈduːɪŋ ˈsʌmθɪŋ] visszatartani valakit attól, hogy csináljon valamit
out of fear that[aʊt əv fɪə ðæt] attól való félelembe, hogy
4 surprising facts about the first manned space mission
How long was Gagarin up there?
The total mission lasted just 108 minutes, and the trip once around the Earth at 17,500 mph (most of the way) took less than an hour and a half. In that time, Vostok 1 completed one not-quite-circular orbit, at a maximum altitude of 203 miles, before slowing down to the point that the capsule was pulled back into the atmosphere for ballistic reentry.
What kind of vessel was the Vostok 1?
The Vostok was a spherical capsule, designed to eliminate changes in center of gravity. In that way, the craft could assure comfort for its one-man crew no matter its orientation. What it wasn't designed to do was land with a human still on board, so Gagarin had to eject before reaching ground, at an altitude of around four miles. But since the achievement would not have been regarded as the first successful manned mission to space unless it included a manned landing, the Russians kept this little detail out of official press releases.
What prevented earlier missions from reaching orbit?
Nothing else than speed. In order to escape Earth's gravitational pull, a ship needs to hit 17,500 mph, or about 5 miles per second. Before the Vostok 1 mission, no rocket was powerful enough to get a vessel going that fast. The Vostok capsule's cannonball shape helped the rocket and spacecraft reach the necessary velocity.
How did they test the Vostok before Gagarin’s mission?
A few weeks prior, a prototype of Gagarin's craft, the Vostok 3KA-2, completed one low-Earth orbit carrying a life-size dummy named Ivan Ivanovich and a dog called Zvezdochk. Ivan was sold in a Sotheby's auction in 1993.
mission [ˈmɪʃn̩] küldetés
to last [ˈtu lɑːst] időben tart
altitude [ˈˈæltɪtjuːd] magasság
ballistic [ˈbəˈlɪstɪk] ballisztikus
reentry [ˈriˈɪntri] visszatérés, visszalépés
spherical [ˈˈsferɪkl̩] gömbölyű
capsule [ˈˈkæpsjuːl] kapszula
to eliminate [ˈtə ɪˈlɪmɪneɪt] kihagy, felszámil, megsemmisít
gravity [ˈɡrævɪti] gravitáció
to eject [ˈtə ɪˈdʒekt] kilövell, kiad, kilő
official press release [ˈəˈfɪʃl̩ pres rɪˈliːs] hivatalos sajtóközlemény
rocket [ˈrɒkɪt] rakéta
vessel [ˈvesəl] edény, hajó
cannonball [ˈkænənbɔːl] ágyúgolyó
velocity [ˈvəˈlɒsɪti] sebesség
life-size dummy [ˈlaɪf saɪz ˈdʌmi] életnagyságú bábú
auction [ˈɔːkʃn̩] aukció
RUSSIAN SPACE SCHOOL
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