How do Russian astronauts train in space?
(Image credit: Universal History Archive / Getty Images)
As the face of Nasa’s Mercury Seven was splashed across the global media, the Russian astronauts were trained in secret, hiding from public view.
On April 13, 1961, Giorgio Ostromov, a special correspondent for the Izvestia newspaper, met the first man in space. One day after returning to Earth “Astronaut” Yuri Gagarin reported Ostroumov “with a lively, delicious and delicious … a wonderful smile makes his face shine.”
“The dimple appears on his cheek every time,” Ostroumov wrote. “He appreciated the curiosity, which he was pressed down for details of what he saw and received during the hours and a half he spent outside of the world. “
In a pamphlet published to commemorate Soviet aviation, Men in Space, Gagarin’s interviews go on for several pages. The astronauts describe the experience as “The skyline presents beautiful, quirky imagery,” and praised the Soviet Union: “I dedicate my flight to … all of our people marching at the forefront of humanity and building a new society.”
In a political system where journalism tends to propaganda rather than realistic portrayals, it is easy to argue that Gagarin’s speech was made up. But even though they may have been refined by the censorship. But there’s a good chance they’ll be the true words of the astronauts.
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Gagarin, a fighter pilot who grew up in a small Russian village, Gagarin is a family guy. He was good-looking, elegant and, importantly, a member of the Communist Party’s identity card.
Although the drama about Nasa’s early human space program was shown in public. But more recently, there has been a whole story about how the Soviet Union recruited and trained its astronauts. The Communist Empire is eager to encourage everyone to see that choice is open to everyone, and these first men in space – and the first woman, Valentina Tereshkova – were volunteers. But that’s strictly not true.
The USSR poured abundant resources into the space program. But it officially doesn’t exist (Credit: Gamma Keystone / Getty Images)
After qualifying as a fighter pilot, Gagarin entered service at a remote airport on the Russian-Norwegian border that flies MiG-15s on the Western Front of the Cold War. In late summer 1959, two doctors came to the base to interview a group of pre-selected pilots. After starting with a list of around 3,500 potential candidates, doctors narrowed their search to 300 pilots in western Russia.
“People interviewed have no real clue as to why they were interviewed,” said Beyond author Stephen Walker, who spent years disposing of important Russian documents to piece together the full story of Gagarin’s mission.
The interview consists of a casual conversation about your career, inspiration, and family. Some men are invited to return to the second conversation. Although the doctors hinted they were looking for candidates for the new aircraft. But they did not reveal their true motives.
“They are looking for a registered military pilot with the possibility of suicide for their country, which is what we are dealing with here because the opportunity to come back to life is not remembered.” There must be that much, ”Walker said.
While Nasa recruits military test pilots as the first astronauts to fly the complex Mercury spacecraft, the Soviet Vostok capsule was designed to be remotely controlled from the ground. Pilots will not be able to fly much except in an emergency.
“They’re not looking for people with great experience,” Walker said. “What they are looking for is based on a human version of the dog – someone who can sit there and endure the mission, deal with the accelerating forces and come back to life.”
The potential astronaut’s first intake was reduced to 20, including Yuri Gagarin second from the left (Credit: Keystone / Hulton Archive / Getty Images)
And like the space dogs that Soviet rocket scientists have launched into space for more than a decade, astronauts need to be fit, obedient and small enough to fit into tight capsules.
Ultimately, 134 selected young pilots, all under 5 feet 7 inches (168 cm), will all be given the opportunity to “volunteer” for a new, top-secret assignment. this Some say it will be related to spacecraft training, others believe it is a new generation of helicopters. Any pilots are not permitted to discuss the offer with their colleagues or to consult with their family.
In April 1959, at the same time, the United States announced the first seven Mercury astronauts. Candidates underwent tough physical, medical, and psychological tests detailed in Tom Wolfe’s book (and later film and recent TV series) The Right Stuff.
When asked at a press conference which test they liked the least, astronaut candidate John Glenn replied: “It’s hard to choose one, because if you figure out how many openings there are in the human body and you can go into any of them … you can answer which one is the most difficult for you.”
But there are many questions left as to how humans will cope with the rigors of space flight – acceleration, weightlessness and loneliness.There are every reason to choose the one that is most capable of both physical and mental abilities.
The man responsible for testing the Soviet space candidate is Vladimir Yazdovsky, professor at the Moscow Institute of Aviation and Space Medicine. He previously supervised the Space Dog Program and has been described by a colleague. (Personally) that he was harsh and arrogant.
“He’s such a terrifying, terrifying figure of James Bond,” Walker said. “And he was cruel to them.”
Nasa’s grueling training is less important than Nasa in its piloting skills (Credit: TASS / AFP / Getty Images)
In almost all cases, the Soviet Union’s tests were longer, tougher, and stricter than those of the US astronauts. Over a month, the applicant will be injected, examined and prod. They were placed in a room that was heated up to 70C (158F), a room where they starved oxygen and a seat vibrated to simulate the launch. Some applicants collapsed, others walked away.
Throughout the process, men are forbidden to tell family or friends what they are doing. Even in the months of testing, there were still some who didn’t know what they were being tested for.
These 20 young men were eventually trained at the new astronaut center. It was renamed Star City, but initially it was a few military huts in a forest near Moscow. There were no official press releases or announcements, there were no Soviet human space programs.
“If they leave the base, they will be told not to tell anyone what they are doing, why they are there, if someone asks, they will say they are part of a sports team,” Walker. say “Everything is controlled, everything is secret, everything is behind closed doors.”
The training program is similar to that of the Americans. But less focus on controlling the spaceship Like the space dogs that carry them, men spins at a dizzying acceleration on a sealed centrifuge in a noise-proof isolation chamber for days and is subject to physical and psychological evaluation. Almost constant
One significant difference with the American program is the number of skydiving exercises the Russians receive. This is because they will have to eject from the spacecraft while they land in order to avoid being seriously injured by the impact. The fact that the capsule and the pilot area are separate is another secret that was not disclosed until a year.
When there were many more men who could not do the grade, the first 6 astronauts were chosen for their first flight. With the public announcement that Nasa was hoping to make his first man debut in the spring of 1961, Sergei Korolev, the head of the Soviet project, knew he had narrow opportunities.
Astronauts go through many of the same paths Nasa astronauts do, such as weightless training (Credit: Keystone Gamma / Getty Images)
On April 5, 1961, the astronauts arrived at what is now known as the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Kazakh desert, where Korolev’s giant R7 rocket was prepared. First in space Finally, just days before the release, Gagarin received a nod.
Until there is an official broadcast, when Gagarin is in orbit over Earth where anyone close to the space program will know his name.
According to Izvestia’s special correspondent, Ostroumov, on the morning of April 12, Gagarin gave “the last wave to the friends and comrades below. [the rocket] He then stepped into the spaceship, a few seconds later he received an order … a huge ship rose from fiery clouds to the stars. “
He will return to Earth, the poster boy for the Soviet Union – astronauts with Russian Right Stuff.
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