Soviets Lied About Flawed '61 Space Flight

Yuri Gagarin's flight did not go perfectly, new book claims
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2011 1:08 PM CDT
Soviets Lied About Flawed '61 Space Flight
Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to travel into space, hits the headline of the paper 'The Huntsville Times' on April 12, 1961 after oribiting Earth aboard the Vostok spaceship.    (Getty Images)

When Yuri Gagarin took the first manned flight into space in 1961, the Soviet Union touted it as a major Cold War triumph for Communist ideology. But the flight wasn’t as perfect as Soviet officials claimed, a new book asserts. In truth, due to two miscalculations by scientists, Gagarin landed almost 250 miles away from where he was expected, according to 108 Minutes That Changed the World.

As a result, no one met him when he touched down, the Telegraph reports. “The first thing he had to do after landing was set off to look for people and communications so he could tell the leadership where he was,” writes Russian journalist Anton Pervushin in the book. The Soviets also claimed Gagarin had touched down inside the capsule, but he actually landed via parachute. Lying about the landing allowed them to register the flight as a world record. (More Yuri Gagarin stories.)

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