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Gagarin 50 June 1, 2011

Posted by Marie in Gagarin, Space travel.
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There’s a little exhibition in Sale, near Manchester at the minute, called Gagarin50.

It celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the first human spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin on 12th April 1961, and also his visit to Manchester and Trafford a few months later.

Although not a huge exhibition, it does tie in nicely with the commemorations which took place in April, and it did make me curious as to why he should choose to visit Manchester.

It turns out he came at the invitation of the Union of Foundry Workers (he had worked in a foundry himself when he was younger) and the lovely footage of him receiving a medal from them can be seen here, courtesy of the North West Film Archive.

Despite the Manchester rain, he seemed genuinely happy to be here.  Afterwards (and this is still very much in the era of the ‘Cold War’) he headed south to meet the Prime Minister.

The exhibition was due to finish this weekend, but has been extended until August, so if you are in the Manchester area and have an hour free, why not take a look.

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For Yuri April 12, 2011

Posted by Marie in Gagarin, Moon, Photography, Space travel.
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Monument to the Conquerors of Space reaches for the Moon. Credit: Reesiepie

I took this photograph of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space in Moscow during a visit in 2009.  It was a spontaneous shot, taken quickly as we were about to board a coach.  Although I’m annoyed that the Russian lamp post is in the way, I’m actually quite pleased that you can see the moon, almost as if the rocket is heading for its target.

During my visit, the hotel was really close to the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics, which is located inside the base of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space.

Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics. Credit: Reesiepie

The monument is a beautiful representation of a rocket rising up into space, supported by its vapour trail, which forms the roof of the entrance to the museum.

The museum itself contains an amazing collection of items.  Among them: the stuffed dogs Belka and Strelka, who went into orbit on Sputnik 5, a full size, walk-through model of the Mir space station, and Yuri Gagarin’s spacesuit.

Today (12th April 2011) marks 50 years since Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth, and there are many events taking place to mark this amazing feat.  Yuri is, rightly, a Russian and global hero.  The sad thing is that his life was cut short only 7 years later in an aviation accident – he never again returned to space, as the Soviet Union deemed him too precious to be allowed to go again.

Thanks, Yuri, for your bravery.

Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!

Yuri Gagarin

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