What Did Gagarin See on His Historic Flight?

50 years ago, April 12th, Yuri Gagarin became the world’s first human to go into space. What did he see? He described it fairly well, but there are limited pictures and no video from his time in orbit. Now, through a unique collaboration between a filmmaker and ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli on board the International Space Station, high definition video of what Gagarin might have seen has been woven together with historic recordings of the flight (subtitled in English) to create a new, free film that will be released on the 50th anniversary titled First Orbit. Above is the trailer for the film. What a perfect way to celebrate this historic moment.

“Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty — not destroy it!” — Yuri Gagarin.


By matching the orbital path of the Space Station as closely as possible to that of Gagarin’s Vostok 1 spaceship and filming the same vistas of the Earth through the new giant cupola window, Nespoli and documentary film maker Christopher Riley put together the film, which will be shown on You Tube on April 12, 2011 starting at midnight on the International Date Line. The Yuri’s Night network will also be showing the film at over 120 parties around the world that day. See the First Orbit website for how to view the film.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004. She is the author of a new book on the Apollo program, "Eight Years to the Moon," which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible. Her first book, "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond.

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