n MNASSA : Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of South Africa - Yuri Gagarin - the columbus of space : historical




After the launching of the first unmanned artificial Earth satellite SPUTNIK 1 in October 1957, the next logical step was to place a man in orbit about the Earth. There were no ground rules as to how this would be done as it was virgin territory. It was decided to recruit COSMONAUTS - the Russian equivalent of an ASTRONAUT - from the Soviet Air Force in late 1959 and twenty Air Force pilots between the ages of 25 to 35 were selected on 25 February, 1960.


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