Fifty years ago this month, a young Russian military pilot, standing just 5’2” tall and wearing a comically over-sized helmet that would later become an icon, was strapped into a capsule atop the Vostok-1 rocket and fired into space. His mission lasted just 108 minutes, but it turned him into the first cosmonaut–the first human to journey into space. This was 1961, and in the USSR. Here’s a look at the technology they used, and how it’s impacted the space programs of today.
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