Man in Space

Man in Space

Man in Space

On 12 April 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man in history to reach space. A huge coup for the Soviet Union, it was the spark that ignited a new Space Race – one that would ultimately lead to the Moon. Discover the fascinating story of over 50 years of manned space exploration in this lavish, 116-page special issue. Featuring articles by leading spaceflight writers and packed with rarely-seen photos of astronauts and their spacecraft, Man In Space takes you from the early Vostok, Mercury and Gemini missions to the International Space Station and beyond.

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United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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2 Min.

NOT LONG AGO I attended a talk by Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian spacewalker, commander of ISS expedition 35 and bona-fide social media sensation – the man who conquered the internet from space by tweeting about it on a near daily basis. Hadfield’s story is of ambition and success, but not one, he explained, that was born on a whim. There were two experiences that led him to pursue this career. One was a childhood spent watching Captain Kirk’s escapades in Star Trek, which availed him of the belief that space is cool. The other, the moment he watched Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the Moon in July 1969, when he realised that space exploration was not confined to the imaginings of science-fiction writers. It was a real…

7 Min.
the rocket men

Wernher von Braun The German rocket scientist developed the V-2 missile in World War II before spearheading the US Moon shot WERNHER VON BRAUN was a pivotal, if controversial, figure in the Space Race. Born to an aristocratic family in the Prussian town of Wirsitz (now in Poland) in 1912, he was inspired in his teens by the work of German physicist Hermann Oberth, and became a rocket scientist. Earning his doctorate in rocket combustion in 1934, the year after Hitler came to power in his homeland he joined the Nazi party and became technical director of the German rocket programme, based in the Baltic village of Peenemünde. By 1942 he had successfully developed the infamous V-2 rocket that was to wreak such havoc on London during the Blitz. Equally notorious was the…

5 Min.
early days

SERGEI KOROLEV’S GREATEST creation was the dual-purpose R-7 missile, or Semyorka (‘Little Seven’) as it was affectionately known by the men who built it. Fuelled with liquid oxygen and kerosene, and incorporating four drop-away boosters parallel to a central core, it was the world’s first intercontinental ballistic missile. The development of rockets for space was, at that time, a by-product of creating the instruments of warfare. The lower stages, or ‘blocks’, of the vehicle were fitted with engines designed by Valentin Glushko. His compact turbine fuel pumps and clever pipework serviced four combustion chambers simultaneously. The apparent thrust of 20 separate engines on the R-7 was, in fact, delivered by just five, each of which had four nozzles. This rugged and reliable rocket was the basis for the Soyuz boosters that…

8 Min.
first man in space

YURI ALEKSEYEVICH GAGARIN was born on 9 March 1934 in the village of Klushino, 160km to the west of Moscow. His father, Alexei Ivanovich, and his mother, Anna Timofeyevna, lived and worked on a collective farm – he as a storesman, she with the dairy herd. Two of his siblings were older: brother Valentin by 10 years and sister Zoya by seven. A younger brother, Boris, was born in 1936. The family seems to have been a happy one, despite the harsh conditions of Stalin’s regime and the occasional, frightening disappearances of friends and neighbours. The Soviet description of the Gagarins as ‘peasants’, however, was a Kremlin propaganda myth. Anna Timofeyevna’s father was a senior oildrilling manager and she was well educated, while Alexei was a skilled craftsman. At his side,…

1 Min.
in pictures: yuri gagarin first man in space


8 Min.
the race to space

THE SOVIET PREMIER Nikita Khrushchev positively crowed after Yuri Gagarin’s 108-minute orbital flight: “Let the whole world look and see what our great country is capable of. Let the capitalist countries catch up with us!” Over in the US, project Mercury was intended to do just that. It had been the ‘man-in-spacesoonest’ project until it transferred from the US Air Force to a newly established NASA. After flying a chimpanzee called Ham in January 1961, Mercury had almost placed an astronaut into suborbital space ahead of Gagarin’s 12 April flight. In the event, lingering safety fears meant its 24 March launch was unmanned. After Gagarin, the race was really on. In the two extraordinary years that followed, cosmonauts and astronauts became what Tom Wolfe, author of The Right Stuff, termed ‘single combat…