The First Manned Spaceship: Vostok 1
While some may think that the first manned spaceship was built by the United States, it was actually built by the Soviet Union. It was called the Vostok 1 and boy was it an interesting piece of technology surrounded by some major controversy.
The first spaceship, the Vostok 1, blasted off into outer space on April 12, 1961. The lucky soul to be piloting it was a cosmonaut by the name of
Yuri Gagarin. While the flight of this spaceship only lasted about an hour and a half, it was a huge accomplishment for both the USSR and all of mankind. This is because the cosmonaut on board actually orbited Earth, officially making it the first spaceship to actually reach space with a human inside. Better still, the craft was able to land safely back onto the planet and Yuri Gagarin was unharmed. Talk about a pretty cool story to be able to tell!
One of the more interesting aspects of the journey was that scientists were unsure how the human body would handle the weightlessness of outer space, so the controls were locked and the pilot was unable to use them unless he were to enter a code that he was carrying with him in a sealed envelope. This was only supposed to be used in the case of an emergency, and was not used during the trip.
However, this trip also had a bit of controversy. According to rules set by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), for a spaceflight to be considered official, the pilot must land along with the spacecraft. While it was initially thought that this was the case, it was discovered a few years after this flight took place that Yuri Gagarin actually ejected from the spaceship during its decent, so technically he didn’t land with it. This means that it did not meet FAI rules for an official spaceflight!
Here are some more interesting facts about the first manned spaceship, the Vostok 1:
- It weighed 10,420 pounds (well, at least it weighed that much while it was on Earth!)
- Total mission duration was 1 hour and 48 minutes
- It orbited planet earth for 89.34 minutes
- I would have been freaking out if I were piloting it