Topic - Vladimir Shatalov

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  • In this April 12 1961 photo, rocket engineer Oleg Ivanovsky pats Yuri Gagarin, left, on his helmet as he sits down in the cockpit of the Vostok spacecraft before the launch from what will later become known as the Baikonur cosmodrome. Ivanovsky said that designers had done their best to make the first human flight into space safe, but risks were still high. Russia  is marking the 50th anniversary of man's first trip into space. (AP Photo/NPO Lavochkin Museum, HO)

    First man in space: A 50-year-old feat remembered

    It was the Soviet Union's own giant leap for mankind, one that would spur a humiliated America to race for the moon. It happened 50 years ago this Tuesday, when an air force pilot named Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.

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  • Cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov told the AP that Gagarin was dreaming about going to the moon and was among those selected to train for the mission in a race against the U.S. "He hoped to take part in that, he hoped to fly to the moon," Shatalov during an interview at Star City, where Gagarin trained.

    Medvedev: Space will remain a key Russian priority →

  • Shatalov, who had planned to follow Gagarin on another training flight that day, told the AP that the most likely reason for Gagarin's crash was a sonic wave from another military jet flying too close.

    Medvedev: Space will remain a key Russian priority →

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