'We Had 'Em By the Short Hairs': How the United States Lost the Race for a Man in Space (Part 2)

In early 1961, the Mercury Seven were ready to begin the United States’ first missions into space. However, the need to conduct a final unpiloted Mercury-Redstone mission caused America to lose the race to beat the Soviet Union into space. Photo Credit: NASA

Fifty-five years ago, next week, on 24 March 1961, the […]

Timid Doctors and Timid Germans: How the United States Lost the Race for a Man in Space (Part 1)

One of the earliest rockets to be launched from Cape Canaveral was the Army’s Redstone missile, which later evolved into the vehicle seen here delivering America’s first man into space. Photo Credit: NASA

More than five decades have now passed since one of the most unfortunate episodes in human spaceflight history. In late […]

'Poyekhali!' Remembering Our First Space Voyager (Part 2)

Yuri Gagarin (left) was proudly displayed to the world by a joyful Nikita Khrushchev (right), who recognized the political and ideological advantage which his flight had acquired over the United States. Photo Credit: Roscosmos/The Telegraph

The location at which the feet of Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin—the first human ever to break the bonds of […]

'Poyekhali!' Remembering Our First Space Voyager (Part 1)

Clad in his orange space suit, Yuri Gagain appears pensive in this image recorded during his journey to the launch pad on 12 April 1961. Photo Credit: Roscomos

In the early hours of 11 April 1961—more than five decades ago—an enormous booster trundled humanity’s first manned spacecraft to its launch site in a […]

New Light Through Old Windows: The Truth Behind Yuri Gagarin's Death

In April 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the most famous man in the world. Less than seven years later, he was dead, killed in an avoidable tragedy, the precise details of which have taken decades to emerge. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

Last week’s announcement that “the truth” had finally emerged about the mysterious death of […]

Yuri Gagarin (1934-68): An Enduring Legacy

In one of his last training photographs, Yuri Gagarin is shown during flight training. As 1967 wore into 1968, his chances of ever returning to space grew ever slimmer. Photo Credit: Roscomos

On 27 March 1968, the first son of humanity ever to break the bonds of Earth and venture into the ethereal […]