As it happened

Восток (Vostok) 1 was the mission that put the first man in space, and reinforced the Soviets' early lead in the Space Race. 27 year old Yuri Gagarin made one orbit of the Earth before re-entry, remaining conscious while experiencing at least 8g, before ejecting from the spacecraft 7km from the ground to land about ten minutes later.

This site allows you to explore transcripts of radio communications between Gagarin and the personnel at various ground stations across Russia.

How the site works

The main textual content of this site comes from a transcript of radio communications between the crew and mission control; there are some limitations which stem from the original recordings.

Each line starts with a timestamp, in Ground Elapsed Time, which is the time (in days, hours, minutes and seconds or some subset for shorter missions or where we don't have timestamps down to the second) since lift off; photographs are shown inline at a suitable place. You can navigate through the transcript using the phases of the mission, and key scenes within them, or search for things that might interest you using the box at the top of the page. While browsing through the transcript, there are also links that take you to the same place in the original typescript.

You can help

This site can be improved, and you can help — whether by correcting remaining errors (although we hope there aren't many left), by adding more photos, or marking further glossary items. The easiest way to report small errors, suggest new photos and so forth, is by dropping us an email to [email protected].

There are always other missions in the pipeline. If you'd like to help get them cleaned up and published, there's a simple guide to getting involved, or if you're more technical all our code, and the transcript files, is available on GitHub, where there is information on how to get up and running. (If you're up to it, you can even fork the repository, and issue a pull request to us when you're done.)

Find out how