Vostok I - "Poyekhali!" (Off We Go)

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By 1961 the science of rocketry and space flight had advanced to the point that it was feasible a man could make the journey beyond Earth's atmosphere into space. Although several manmade satellites had successfully achieved orbit by this time, it was not an absolute certainty that manned space flight would succeed. On April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagrin bravely entered his Vostok I spacecraft perched atop an R-7 rocket. Upon blast off he spoke over the intercom, "Poyekhali!" which translates in English to, "Off We Go!" After a short journey Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space. The flight lasted a total of 108 minutes and he completed one orbit of the Earth. It is interesting to note the design to land the capsule safely with a man on board had not been perfected at the time of the flight. Thus, after the capsule reentered the atmosphere, Yuri was ejected and parachuted to a safe landing separate from the capsule. This print is a tribute to this magnificent accomplishment on the 50th anniversary of the historic flight.