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Published on April 11th, 2011 | by Yellow Magpie

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Yuri Gagarin: The True Cause Of The Death Of The First Man In Space

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He was the young, fresh face of the Soviet Union. Affable, blue-eyed and intelligent, Gagarin created history when he became the first man to breach the Earth’s atmosphere and find himself in Space.

However, it was to be his tragic death and the subsequent cover-up that would cause the rumour mill to go into overdrive and cause an international stir.

The Perfect Man For The Job

Gagarin was the perfect candidate to become the first man in Space. He was hand-picked to be the first man because of his Slavic/Russian background and because his name was Russian-sounding, unlike some of the other potential cosmonauts.

Yuri Gagarin In 1964

Gagarin was a die-hard communist who dogmatically believed in the ideology. What’s more, he also had no Trotskyist leanings which pleased the authorities no end. This mix of characteristics and his likeable disposition meant that Gagarin was the ideal man to make it into Space and he was chosen out of 19 men who had been specially selected and trained for the task.

The Vostok Flight

In 1961, on the 12th of April, Gagarin was strapped into Vostok 1 and was blasted into Space.

The Vostak Photo By Sergei Arssenev

The Soviet Union had sent the first living thing into Space, Laika the dog, several years previously. However, what has been mostly forgotten about this event was the fact that the trip was one-way and Laika was sacrificed as a result.

Laika: The First Living Being In Space

But Gagarin’s trip was a different matter and he safely returned to a triumphant fanfare.

Gagarin’s success catapulted him into fame and he began a worldwide tour giving countless interviews and promoting Soviet success.

A Highly Valuable Asset

Gagarin became a victim of his success when the authorities realised that he was far too valuable to be sent up to Space as it would be a public relations disaster if he was killed.

The harsh reality of Space travel became apparent when Gagarin’s good friend, Vladimir Komarov, became the first man to die in Space in the Soyuz 1 flight. This fatality reinforced the authorities’ belief that Gagarin should not take part in spaceflights and he was taken off active duty and forbidden from training.

Gagarin: The Fighter Pilot

Gagarin set his sights on retraining to be a fighter pilot. He was allowed to fly a MiG 15 as it was one of the safest planes the Soviets possessed and had the least amount of accidents. This, the authorities felt was low-risk as Gagarin was in perfect health.

MiG 15

March 27, 1968, saw Gagarin undergo a routine training flight from Chkalovsky Air Base. However, something went wrong and both Gagarin and flight instructor, Valdimir Seryogin, were killed.

The Conspiracies Commence

Gagarin’s death was a shock to the Soviet public and many were unconvinced by the official report which did not pinpoint a cause for the crash.

This was ideal fodder for conspiracists and some bizarre theories emerged. One of the saner explanations was that Gagarin was drunk. However, an autopsy conducted on Gagarin disproved this notion. More left-field theories suggested that an encounter with extra-terrestrials had caused the accidents.

Yuri Gagarin In Cairo Photo By Fyodor Nosov

While perhaps the most bizarre theory of all suggested that Gagarin had committed suicide because he was not the first man to go beyond the confines of the Earth’s atmosphere as another rocket had launched a man into Space the day before Gagarin’s mission. Unable to live with the truth, it was thought, Gagarin purposefully crashed the plane.

But the Soviet’s lacked the capabilities to have two launches one day apart.

The Truth Revealed

It wasn’t until 2003 that the truth of the matter was revealed in a declassified KGB report.

The accident was a combination of different events and negligent acts.

Yuri Gagarin With The First Woman In Space, Valentina Tereschkowa In 1963 Photo By Ulrich Kohls

It is believed that Gagarin’s plane had a near miss with a much larger supersonic jet that was flying below the minimum altitude. The jet is then thought to have passed within 20 metres (60 feet) of the MiG 15 causing the plane to go into a uncontrolled spin.

Ordinarily, the MiG should have been able to climb out of such a dive if was at a safe altitude. But the altitude instrument on MiG 15s had a history of needing time to adjust to give a correct reading.

Air-traffic control could have helped in this situation but on that day the RADAR was not working. The declassified KGB report, according to Wikipedia, also states that an air traffic controller had provided Gagarin with an out-of-date weather report which underestimated the severity of cloud coverage.

This combination of events and incorrect procedures was the real reason as to why Yuri Gagarin died that day.

Yuri Gagarin With NASA's Gemini 4 Astronauts In Paris

An Interesting Life

He became the first man in Space and his charm and charisma was an important tool in the Soviet’s armament. Gagarin’s place in history will always be secured.

On April 13, 2011, Google celebrated the achievements of Yuri Gagarin by designing a special commemorative drawing on all of their search engines. It appears that the feats of the small man from Smolensk will never be forgot.

Highly Recommended Reading Through Amazon

Starman: The Truth About Yuri Gagarin is a comprehensive read of the man. It includes a number of interviews and reveals a far more complicated character than the one portrayed in the media. And it also delves into the jealousies from within the Kremln that Gagarin’s success created.

You can obtain Starman: The Truth Behind The Legend Of Yuri Gagarin here from Amazon.

Amazon.co.uk
For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom you can access Starman: The Truth Behind The Legend Of Yuri Gagarin here.

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For those living in Canada you can obtain Starman: The Truth Behind The Legend Of Yuri Gagarin from here.

Amazon.de
For Germany: Starman: The Truth Behind The Legend Of Yuri Gagarin.

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For France: Starman: The Truth Behind The Legend Of Yuri Gagarin.


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2 Responses to Yuri Gagarin: The True Cause Of The Death Of The First Man In Space

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