On the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight

April 12, 1961 Soviet citizen Yuri Gagarin on the spaceship "Vostok" for the first time in human history has made space flight. The news of this event immediately spread through the entire planet. People - regardless of nationality or political beliefs - enthusiastically perceived news about Gagarin's flight. It seems that there was no such event that brings together so people from different countries.

And it was no accidentally. Yuri Gagarin made what people dreamed for centuries, waited and prepared for decades. His flight was striking manifestation of the human capacity to investigate the world and the ability to use obtained knowledge to implement the most incredible ideas.

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the flight it should briefly mention how people came to accumulate knowledge and create technical means necessary for its implementation.

The true knowledge of the cosmos and man's place in it is the prerequisite of space flight. The first such knowledge were obtained more than two and a half thousand years ago, when the Greek philosopher Pythagoras (VI century BC) concluded that the Earth, like other celestial bodies, is spherical. The Pythagoreans asserted that the earth, sun, planets attached to the celestial spheres and are rotating around a central fire. But later in astronomy the Aristotle idea was established, that the Earth is still in the center of the universe. This idea was the basis for the geocentric Ptolemaic system of the world (second century AD), which reigned 1200 years.

Polish scientist N. Copernicus in the first half of the XVI century. proposed a new heliocentric system of the world, according to which the planets revolve around the sun. Based on the ideas of Copernicus, Italian Giordano Bruno at the end of the XVI century concluded the immensity of the universe and that the stars - this is the sun around which can rotate planet inhabited by intelligent beings. Using the ideas of Copernicus, the German scientist Y.Kepler processing the data of many years of astronomical observations Dane Tycho Brahe, in the early XVII century, offered three laws of planetary motion that now called Kepler's laws. Based on the laws of Kepler Englishman I.Nyuton at the end of XVII century formulated the law of gravity, which to this day is the basis for calculations of motion of spacecraft with the laws of Newtonian mechanics. He concluded also that the body that moves horizontally at a speed of 7.9 km / s, will not fall to the ground.

Due to the rapid development of science and technology in the nineteenth there was a discussion about the possibility of flying to other planets, to the moon. There were many science fiction novels, which described space missions and means of their implementation. Their authors (among which the most famous is the Jules Verne) sent their heroes on celestial bodies using giant cannons, catapults, substances that neutralize gravity (see Book: N.A.Rynin "Space Ships" (1928) http://epizodsspace.airbase.ru). While these projects were not feasible, but they attracted the attention of many people, especially young people, to the technical problems of space flight.

Gradually, people realized that the only way to space flight could be a rocket. Of course, it had to have a great imagination to see the vehicle in a rocket, which for many centuries was used exclusively in rocket fireworks. In the nineteenth century there appeared the missiles that carried the charge incendiary or explosive mixtures, mass not exceeding 10 kg, range - 8 miles, and speed - 20 m / s. However, for space flight all these parameters had to be increase in the tens or hundreds of times. But, as Tsiolkovsky wrote in 1898, inevitably, first is thought, fantasy, fairy tale - and then scientific calculations.

In the late nineteenth century, there were appeared the first drafst of devices with rocket engines for manned flight (authors - M.I. Kibalchych, G. Hansvindt). The first who described the design of a space rocket and liquid rocket engine, put forward a number of proposals for practical astronautics (multistage rockets, orbital space stations, space greenhouses, etc.), was the great Russian scientist Tsiolkovsky, who is rightly considered the founder of the world space technology. His work gave a powerful impetus to research in different countries. F.A. Zander, J.V. Kondratiuk, M.O. Rynin (USSR), G. Obert, M. Valle, B. Homann (Germany), R. Goddard (USA), R. Eno-Peltre (France), E. Sanger and H. Nordunh (Austria), AA . Shternfeld (Poland, from 1935 - USSR) in their writings created the theory of rocket flight in outer space and discussed various aspects of space flight: the possibility of missile flights, types of rocket fuels, possible trajectories, life support systems, the ability to live in the conditions of overload and weightlessness. To design the spacecraft and made it flight in the space, it was necessary to imagine, predict, plan all relevant aspects.

In the 20 years of the twentieth century, those who created the rockets and their engines became the leaders in the preparation of spaceflight.

Since March 1921 in Moscow it began to operate the laboratory under the direction of talented chemical engineer MI Tikhomirov, where fighting gunpowder rockets were developed. In 1928 the laboratory was expanded and became known as Gasdynamic Laboratory (GDL), whose staff included V.A. Artemyev, G.E. Langemak, V.P. Glushko (since 1929). In GDL it had been developed powder, electrical and liquid rocket engines.

August 17, 1933 in Nakhabino near Moscow it was lanched the first liquid rocket 09 designed by M.K. Tikhonravov. At the end of 1933 GIRD and GDL were merged into Jet Research Institute (RNDI), under leadership of I.T. Kleimenov. The successful flight in 1940 rocket-glider RP-SP 318-1 construction S.P. Korolev (in 1924-1926 - student KPI) with liquid engine RDA-1-150 showed that it was the practical application of rocket engines. A huge contribution to the development of rocket engine was made our by our countryman V.P. Glushko.

Then it was the Great Patriotic War, during which Nazi Germany have used a new weapon - cruise missile V-1 and ballistic missile V-2. This forced other countries to focus on developing military missiles.

In 1946 SP Korolev led the development of powerful rocket systems. Under his leadership it was created the first ballistic and geophysical rockets. During their tests it was studyed not only data required for their improvement, but also the parameters of near-Earth space.

In 1949,there was began regular geophysical investigations using instruments installed on experimental rockets. In 1951, Soviet scientists began conducting biomedical research on animals placed in missiles when flying at an altitude of 100 km. While the immediate goal of the developers was to create a powerful missile weapons to defend the Fatherland, but they looked to the future and conducted studies to train human space flight.

27 August, 1957, it was the first flight of intercontinental ballistic rocket in USSR. Calculations showed that it can place a space satellite in a circumterrestrial orbit. Since President of the USA promised to start such satellite, a decision of accelerating preparation and starting simplest satellite was accepted.This launching was carried out on October 4, 1957, it was the beginning of the space era to the humanity. In a month, on November 3, 1957, there was the flight with the dog Layka in the space. A choice of dogs was not casual, dogs easily got used to trainings and to the places that take them in biocontainers. Successful flights of animals approached time of human hours in space. Scientists and designers faced with a new engineering and technical tasks which nowhere appeared before: it was neсessarily to create launch vehicle, equipped powerful engines, special spaceship, surface measuring points, proof-of-concept ground, and comprehensively to test all this complex.

Academicians V.A. Engel'gardt, M.M. Sasakyan, P.K. Anokhin, V.V. Parin, V.M. Tchernihivsky took an active part in the detailed and comprehensive discussion in biomedical problems connected with flight of human in space, and, in an eventual result, the scientifically grounded conclusion was formulated: flight of human in space is possible and can be organized with the obligated degree of safety.

On S.P. Korolev proposal, in a middle 1959, it was began the selection of cosmonauts among pilots. N.A.Gurovskiy, E.A. Karpov, V.V. Parin developed the special instruction from candidates selection among pilots-destroyers. In the conditions of secrecy, candidates was suggested to take part in the dangerous tests of the newest technique. Nobody talked about flight in space. From 250 persons who arrived to Moscow on a medical commission, only 20 were selected: Y.O. Gagarin, G.S. Titov, A.G. Nikolaev, P.R. Popovich, V.F. Bikovskiy, V.M. Komarov, P.I. Belyaev, O.A. Leonov, B.V. Volinov, E.V. Khrunov, G.S. Shonin, V.V. Gorbatko and 8 pilots who for diverse reasons did not succeed to go to the space. In January 1960 the team of cosmonauts was organized. Studies and intensive trainings began on different stands: in an altitude chamber, ship camera, and in a centrifuge.

On August 1960 ship-satellite with a dog Chernushka, guinea-pigs, flies, bacteria and seed of plants was launched in space. There was in an arm-chair a model "Ivan Ivanovich". A ship flew around the Earth for 88 minutes and landed well.

On March 21, 1961 the 5th space ship with a model, dressed in the real space-suit, was launched in the space. The dog Zirochka together with a model flew in space around the planet. The name to the dog was given by Y.O. Gagarin.
All that time leaders looked closely to the future cosmonauts. Who will the first to fly in space? An organizer and first chief of cosmonauts preparation centre E.A.Karpov remembered:"Basic attention was payed to the high moral level of man, his spiritual world, on ideological conviction and deep consciousness. Only highly conscious, but not automatic actions will be needed from a cosmonaut in distant, very high, ultraspeed flights».

Leaders found a man with qualities of discoverer, who afterwards became a model for others. From the first six "vanguard" cosmonauts Y.O. Gagarin was selected. After long researches of many factors irrefutable virtues of Gagarin were accepted in attention: selfless patriotism, inflexible faith in success flight, excellent health, inexhaustible optimism, flexibility of mind and curiosity, boldness and determination, exactness, industriousness, self-control, simplicity, modesty, large human warmth and attentiveness to the people who surrounded him.

…The time has come!

On April 12, 1961 40 minutes before launching Y.O. Gagarin took the place in a spaceship. He was quiet. «I want to say to the doctors, that I feel good, a pulse is normal", – sent Y.O. Gagarin to operator "Zorya».

At 9 o'clock 07 minutes according to Moscow time launch vehicle with the spaceship "Vostok" launched and successfully placed him in a circumterrestrial orbit with an 327 km apogee and a 181 km by a perigee. During Y.O.Gagarin orbital flight, being in the state of weightlessness, he ran a supervision and simple experiments, did records with pencil, supported a radio contact with earth. Passing one turnover round the Earth, in 108 minutes after Y.O Gagarin have launched he landed near-by the Saratov city.

The millennial dream of humanity came true – overcoming earthly attractive power the first man of planet Earth broke forth in space.The whole world applauded to the first "Kolumbus of Universe". He was the first who started pilot-controlled mastering of space. His name will remain in memories forever.

Ukraine did a considerable contribution to the development of space-rocket technique, giving the world the whole pleiad of prominent scientists and designers.More than thousand veterans of space center Baikonur live in Ukraine, among whose even the participants of Y.O Gagarin space launching.They are: O.A. Berezoviy, V.T.Gladchenko, V.M.Mirov, A.P.Zavalishin, A.O.Davidenko, G.P.Ponamarev, O.G.Sviridenko, O.P. Zatona, V.O.Nedobezhkin, E.S.Magel'nickiy, O.O.Krivushko, V.V.Miroshnik, S.R.Soldatenko, V.M.Oreshkin, M.I.Starostin. Participating in the Y.O. Gagarin launching they filled in the proper names to the epochal event of world cosmonautics. A big contribution to development and creation space-rocket systems was done by the scientists of the Kiev Polytechnic Institute.

In 1991 year, in Kyiv by the hands of veterans of Baikonur space center, who took part in building of space center, launching of space satellite, pilot-controlled spaceships, automatic astronautics stations "Moon","Venus", "Mars", under control of the first chairman of Federation of cosmonautics of Ukraine - general O.M.Voytenko and the head of All-Ukrainian Rada of veterans Baikonur - general V.I.Kataev the Museum of cosmonautics history was created. In 2008 this museum was placed in the State Polytechnic Museum at NTUU "KPI». A museum is rich in its unique exhibits which cause enormous interest for visitors: landing vehicle of "Voskhod" series, which visited space, landing vehicle of AMS "Venus", engine setting of battle rocket 8K.63 (P-12), globe of Moon, trainer complex, brought from the Zvezdny city, etc. Only for 1 year (in 2010) more than 10 thousand visitors, 45 representatives of foreign delegations, cosmonauts O.A.Leonov, V.A.Dzhanibekov, S.E.Savicka, V.M.Zholobov, L.K.Kadenyuk visited this museum, earlier there were the American astronauts R.Shveykart, Brusmak-Kaydelse, Charles Dyuk.

O.S.Boltenko, chief of aviation and cosmonautics I.Sikorskiy department DPM at NTUU "KPI", chairman of Kiev Union Rada of space centers veterans, honored tester of Baikonur.