Saturday, August 21, 2010

Super Men

I saw a photo of this statue recently.

God. Look at that thing. It's breathtaking. It's like if Superman and Iron Man had Batman's baby and it was a god. And that's not too far from the truth. It's a statue of a hero and possibly the most fortunate man who ever lived. It's a statue of Yuri Gagarin in Moscow.

Yuri Gagarin was, of course, the first person in space. You can read the Wikipedia entry on him just as easily as I did, but here is a quick list of facts about Gagarin.

  • Born March 9, 1934
  • Was only 5'2", which was advantageous to fitting in the Vostok 1 and a factor in his selection for the flight.
  • Greatly enjoyed ice hockey and played Goalie
  • In 1960 he was selected along with 19 other candidates for the Soviet Space Program.
  • On April 12, 1961 he became the first person in space aboard the Vostok 1. The craft completed one orbit of the Earth during a 108 minute flight.
  • In 1962, he began serving as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. I mention this mainly because, while the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union is a legislative body, I really wish it was one person. It would be such a great title. I think if one person had had that title, the USSR might have won the Cold War.
  • Later worked at Star City developing reusable spacecraft.
  • Died on March 27, 1968 during a training flight accident.
  • The statue I featured above is 40m (131ft) tall and made of Titanium.

A statue of Gagarin looking even more like Superman outside
the Hotel Vostok
in the town of Gagarin(formerly Gzhatsk).

Say what you will about the Soviets, but when they weren't murdering their heroes they knew how to honor them. Gagarin has been featured on two commemorative coins and numerous stamps. Numerous statues of Gagarin are scattered around Russia, and many locations have been named for him. He is buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.

I think our country would be a little better and a little prouder if we had statues of Neil Armstrong looking like a god.

"Dear friends, known and unknown to me, my dear compatriots and all people of the world! Within minutes from now, a mighty Soviet rocket will boost my ship into the vastness of outer space. What I want to tell you is this. My whole life is now before me as a single breathtaking moment. I feel I can muster up my strength for successfully carrying out what is expected of me." - Yuri Gagarin April 12, 1961

Also, and I totally missed the timing on this one, Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of Belka and Strelka's historic space flight. Belka(squirrel) and Strelka(arrow) were two dogs that, along with numerous lesser life forms, became the first creatures to orbit the Earth and return alive.Belka and Strelka being auctioned after their return from space.
They were eaten.

Pravda has a slide show up about it. See it here.
Pravda also had this on their website:

No comments:

Post a Comment