Born: 1921. Died: 1990-05-01.
The VVS contingent departs for Tyuratam in three Il-14's. The two with cosmonauts aboard stop at Kuibyshev to give the pilots a look at the recovery zone. Aboard the first aircraft are Kamanin, Gagarin, Nelyubov, and Popovich. Aboard the other are Titov, Bykovsky, and Nikolayev. At the VVS Sanatorium at Privolzhskiy on the Volga the cosmonauts relax, and play ping-pong, chess, and billiards. The cosmonauts, Kamanin, Yazdovskiy, and Karpov sleep together in a single large room. Kamanin finds it a lively group; only Gagarin is pale and quieter than the others. On 7 March his wife had their second daughter and only yesterday he brought them back from the hospital. It was tough on him to then have to leave them on his dangerous secret mission - to be the first man into space.
The launch has been delayed to 24-25 March due to problems with L I Gusev's radio system aboard the spacecraft. A meeting of the cosmonauts at 10:00 reviews landing contingency plans that will bring the capsule down on the territory of the USSR. The best chances for such a landing are on orbits 1, 2, and 16, but it is also possible on orbits 4, 5, 6, and 7. A map will be aboard the capsule to show where and when to ignite the TDU retrorocket for each landing opportunity. Feoktistov was a great help in developing this visual aid. For about an hour Kamanin, Korolev, Yazdovskiy, Karpov, and Azbiyevich discuss long-range plans. Korolev is interested in the VVS position that they should be responsible for all military space activities. The reconnaissance satellite version of Vostok is discussed. Korolev says he plans to send a cosmonaut to the moon by 1965.
Afterwards the cosmonauts develop the radio communications plan for the flight. During the 710-second ascent to orbit, and after landing, they are to use the UHF radio. The HF and UHF radios can be used from orbit, but only over the USSR. Plans for filming the cosmonaut in flight are also discussed.
Carried dog Zvezdochka and mannequin Ivan Ivanovich. Ivanovich was again ejected from the capsule and recovered by parachute, and Zvezdochka was successfully recovered with the capsule on March 25, 1961 7:40 GMT.
Officially: Development of the design of the space ship satellite and of the systems on board, designed to ensure man's life functions during flight in outer space and return to Earth. Additional Details: here....
First manned spaceflight, one orbit of the earth. Three press releases were prepared, one for success, two for failures. It was only known ten minutes after burnout, 25 minutes after launch, if a stable orbit had been achieved.
The payload included life-support equipment and radio and television to relay information on the condition of the pilot. The flight was automated; Gagarin's controls were locked to prevent him from taking control of the ship. The combination to unlock the controls was available in a sealed envelope in case it became necessary to take control in an emergency. After retrofire, the service module remained attached to the Sharik reentry sphere by a wire bundle. The joined craft went through wild gyrations at the beginning of re-entry, before the wires burned through. The Sharik, as it was designed to do, then naturally reached aerodynamic equilibrium with the heat shield positioned correctly.
Gagarin ejected after re-entry and descended under his own parachute, as was planned. However for many years the Soviet Union denied this, because the flight would not have been recognized for various FAI world records unless the pilot had accompanied his craft to a landing. Recovered April 12, 1961 8:05 GMT. Landed Southwest of Engels Smelovka, Saratov. Additional Details: here....