Why Gagarin flew upside down

History 02/03/20 Why Gagarin flew upside down

About the first in the history of the Earth human spaceflight made by Yuri Gagarin, and there are plenty of tales, fantastic and absurd. The latter include conversations that the first cosmonaut in his space flight he went, allegedly, in the position … upside down. What is the reason for the appearance of these weird rumors?

the Rise

it is Widely known documentary footage, recorded before the start of Gagarin at Baikonur. It rises in the Elevator to the cockpit of the “East”, he is accompanied by the designer, Oleg Ivanovsky, which helps the astronaut to sit in the pilot’s seat. The footage clearly shows the astronaut position of almost lying down, legs bent at the knees and slightly raised. Maybe cause of the rumors was that?

the fact that the position of the astronaut before the start of the other and can not be. To this day going to space in this almost supine position. It caused huge congestion experienced by a person in the vehicle, overcoming the force of gravity. Body weight increased seven times (for example, Gagarin weighed during overload up to 300 kg), it is impossible to raise a hand, even to move a finger. The heart begins to work to the limit, because the blood is also much heavier. If an astronaut in this period of time will be in a vertical position, the blood just will not be able to get to the brain, leading to unconsciousness and serious damage to health.

to avoid this development, psychologists and doctors have calculated the pose that provides the astronaut the least danger. The angle between the back and the thigh should reach 100 degrees, the inclination of the back 12 degrees, the angle between femur and tibia – 117 degrees.

the Chair Gagarin had another feature. No one knew what would happen to the human psyche, when he would be in space, feel weightlessawn. If the astronaut will lose the adequacy or even go crazy? This case was provided for an automatic fixation of the limbs.

However, if the flight Gagarin went, almost lying down, the position of “head down” he experienced in the period of preparation for the flight. One of the surveys, which he was (antiorthostatic test) looked. First, he, under the supervision of laboratory assistants, 10 minutes spent tightly fastened straps to the horizontal table. Then a table turned vertically, and technicians recorded the physiological indices of the subject for another 20 minutes. And then future astronaut the same amount of time watched, lowering his head down.

currently, the cosmonauts ‘ training must include a test position “upside down”, the doctors say that it is so you can understand what the reaction of the organism to weightlessness.


the full 90 minutes in space, Gagarin felt, despite the overload during takeoff, OK, clearly answered questions from mission control center, kept a logbook (using a simple slate pencil). The flight was in normal mode, the controller fails. However, when it came time to return to earth began. And it is here that Gagarin had a chance to experience the wild turbulence, and fly upside down.

When earned brake, the engine unit (TDU), from lander, where Gagarin had to separate instrument compartment. But the unexpected happened: the compartment is not separated completely, and trudged over spokeman on the cable bundle. This was the reason for the chaotic movement of the ship. Gagarin described it like this: “…”corps de ballet” head-feet head-feet with a very high speed of rotation. Everything was spinning. I see Africa (the Africa it happened), the horizon, the sky. Just managed to close from the sun, so sunlight does not Shine into the eyes. I put my feet to the window, but failed to close the blinds. I was curious to know what’s going on…”.

Balthe tank stopped only when the motion in the atmosphere, the plume of the wires burned out and separated from the lander.

Then there was the ejection and safe landing, despite the emergency situation encountered in the opening of the parachute.

the First astronaut to come home.

Olga Melnikova

© Russian Seven

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