Vostok 1 spacecraft after landing, 1961

Vostok 1 spacecraft after landing, 1961

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Credit: SPUTNIK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Vostok 1 descent module after landing in the Saratov region of Russia, in the USSR, on 12 April 1961. Vostok 1 was the first spacecraft to take a human into space. Its spherical descent module, which measured 2.3 metres across and housed Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin during the spaceflight. The spacecraft launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, and took 1 hour and 48 minutes to circle the Earth. After re-entry the descent module separated from the rest of the spacecraft. Gagarin ejected 7 kilometres up, parachuting safely to the ground. The descent module also deployed a parachute, but impacted the ground hard enough to create an impact crater, bouncing several times before coming to rest covered in soil.

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