101

Yes, the three crew members of Soyuz 11: Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev. On 29 June 1971, their spacecraft undocked from Salyut 1, the first space station, to return to Earth. In the process, however, a breathing ventilation valve between the Soyuz's orbital and descent modules was accidentally loosened. This caused a fatal ...


51

The first people who landed in a different vessel than they took off in were Aleksei Yeliseyev and Yevgeny Khrunov. In January 1969, they took off in Soyuz-4 and returned in Soyuz-5. Crew exchange between directly docked spacecraft was the primary purpose of the Soyuz-4/Soyuz-5 mission. Mission details: The First Crew Exchange in Space --- The first ...


51

It was more of a back-and-forth. You can build a narrative of one side out-pacing the other if you cherry-pick firsts, but their capabilities were very close. The timeline of first achievements is interleaved. Firsts grab headlines and demonstrate national priorities, but they don't show capability well. The other side would often accomplish something ...


47

You should define more precisely what do you mean by "space travel" when you are talking about pre-Galileo times. For example, Elijah, the prophet, was taken to heavens in a chariot of fire, according to the Bible (2 Kings 2:3-9). Mohammed also traveled to heavens, on a winged horse, according to Koran. A travel to heavens is described in Dante's ...


40

SHORT ANSWER Jodrell Bank's first 'coup', tracking Sputnik 1 in 1957 (without Soviet assistance), put it in the news and helped secure funding. It also led to a congratulatory telegram from the Soviets. After doubts were expressed about Luna 1 (Jan 1959) being real, the Soviets sent the coordinates for Luna 2 (Sept 1959) to Jodrell Bank head Bernard Lovell ...


38

In 1991 Central Committee of the CPSU Archive released several documents related to Gagarin's flight. Amongst them was Gagarin's own after-action report to the government commission. Sadly, Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History, which inherited the CC CPSU archives, doesn't have a digitised version online, but it was published in the "Communist" ...


37

TL; DR: Landing on the moon was covered in the Soviet press, and was well known in the Soviet Union. It received much less attention than Soviet space missions, though. Just to add something factual to previous answers. NASA on U.S.S.R. reaction NASA's Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1969 (15 MB PDF file) contains some useful information on press coverage ...


36

The linked Smithsonian page also has this page from a report, which expresses it a bit more explictly: ...completed an earthbound journey of nearly 14,000 miles by land, visiting the capitals of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. The mobile display completed the tour travelling 12,000 miles by sea, for visits to Honolulu in April, 1971, ...


35

It is depending on your definition of a Russian. Gagarin was born in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, so he was the first Russian in space. Sergei Krikaljow (also a Russian) started as a citizen of the Soviet Union, when the Soviet Union was dissolved on December 26, 1991 he was in space. So he was the first citizen of the Russian ...


33

I've seen this story a number of times since Another Earth was released in 2011, usually something along lines like this article. The problem is that I've never seen anything about it in any of the official histories or biographies of Gagarin. Also, the stories all seem to think Gagarin's mission was to last 25 (or 28 depending on the story) days. In fact, ...


28

The earliest mention I know of the possibility was the novella A True History by Lucian in the 2nd century AD, where at one point the protagonists are taken to the moon by a whirlwind, meet the strange creatures living on the moon, and discover a war between the kingdom of the sun and the kingdom of the moon. Outside of European / classical culture, the ...


23

The only astronauts who have ever died in space are the crew of Soyuz 11: Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev. This took place in 1971. Perhaps that you are thinking about the legend of the lost cosmonauts.


18

Well, the USSR did not conceal the event from the public. The official position can be described as follows: The landing once more time confirms the materialistic worldview. The American consmonauts did not see angels or devils there, neither the God. The landing shows the extent which a human can reach with labor and technological progress, it shows that ...


18

I think the premise of the question - that the US ought to have a technological superiority over the USSR, as it did in other areas - is quite sensible here, so I will address the Soviet side of the story. for some context, Soviet Russia happened to have it own vast talent in STEM (as witnessed e. g. by Nobel prizes to Tamm-Frank-Cherenkov and Landau), and ...


17

Religion as a motivation for Armstrong's solo visit is very unlikely. Armstrong was actually the 2nd U.S. Astronaut that travelled to the Soviet Union - the first was Frank Borman, who arrived in Moscow on July 2nd, 1969 after being invited by the U.S.S.R. Institute for Soviet-American Relations.1 Borman was among the more religious of the Apollo ...


12

According to books like Profiles of the Future by Arthur C. Clark and Rockets, Missiles and Space Travel by Wily Ley, many scientists and engineers misunderstood the physics enough to claim that space travel was impossible or impractical in reaction to discussions of the theories of Goddard, Oberth, and other space travel pioneers in the early 20th century. ...


12

The complete transcript of all the communication of Yuri Gagarin with the command center during the flight on April 12, 1961, as well as the transcript of everything Gagarin recorded with the tape recorder he had on board the space ship was published in the Russian language in the official journal of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in April 1991. ...


11

Answer Subsequent to following the suggested lead by Snow's Answer (@Snow deserves credit for this) I have been personally provided the following information by Colin A. Fries, archivist at NASA’s HQ History Division... The pilots of the T-38 missing man flyover for the January 31, 1986 memorial service for the STS-51-L Challenger crew were Johnson Space ...


11

Your question is based on a misconception, which is that there was any sort of "space race" before the Soviets launched Sputnik. The US had some fairly low budget research programs, such as Project Vanguard: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Vanguard Unlike the Soviet programs, they were regarded as purely scientific*, and so did not use ICBMs ...


9

I have serious trouble believing anyone in the physics community actually believed rockets wouldn't work in a vacuum. The principle that allows them to operate there is Newton's Third Law, which by the 20th century had been around quite a while. True, random people off the street may have believed that, but random people off the street today often have ...


9

Definitely not as old as the other answers, but a classic book about space travel is Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon, dating back to 1865. I'm quite surprised you didn't find that one. Of course, the concepts were still pretty crude at the time (firing a spaceship with a cannon!), but it was the inspiration for many later works, including the first ...


8

The Epic of Gilgamesh dates from as early as the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2100 BC), and mentions travel, e.g., see the Standard Babylonian version tablets II–V, specifically: he spoke to Young Hero Utu, the son born of Ningal: ‘Now, when (as the Sun God) you make an opening in the Netherworld, bring his servant up to him from the Netherworld!’ He made an ...


8

It did so, but only initially. Over the long term, it fell behind in most areas, and once the USA was first on the Moon the space race was over with the USA the victor. Rewind back to the beginning of the 1950s. The Cold War had just started, both the USA and USSR had lots of nukes, but the USA had a massive advantage because its bases in Europe allowed its ...


7

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was the first spaceflight to include two participating nations working together with their own national spacecraft. The Americans sent up an Apollo command module, while the Russians launched a Soyuz spacecraft. The Soyuz and Apollo spacecraft docked on July 17, 1975, in a demonstration of how well the rendezvous and docking ...


7

I'm afraid that the reality of the 1961 Soviet Union was rather different... According e.g. to the Russian Wikipedia and its sources during Vostok-1 landing near Engels it was tracked by the local air-defence battalion. While Gagarin was still near the landing site the soldiers from that battalion arrived acompanied by some villagers from the local kolhoz. ...


6

Clarke later apologized for misquoting Wooley on the subject of spaceflight. The passage in question came from a radio interview, so there isn't a solid paper trail, but there's no doubt that summing up Wooley's position as "spaceflight is utter bilge" is totally unfair. Wooley was talking about the popular idea that interplanetary flight would soon be ...


6

If you are talking about ethnicity, then the answer is Gagarin, who was an ethnic Russian.


6

I asked an expert on Gagarin to review the question: "I never heard the story about unexplained ticking, but I do know that he wore Sergei Korolev's wrist watch. At least that is the Russian legend." Personal correspondence with Cathleen Lewis, curator in the Division of Space History, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum She notes she has not ...


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