vladimir ilyushin: first man in space

vladimir ilyushin: first man in spaceOn the brink of a 50th anniversary, Yuri Gagarin is celebrated as first man in space. Gagarin, a handsome test pilot, remains the face of a Russian and Soviet first over cold war rival, the United States. The five foot two inch cosmonaut received Hero of the Soviet Union award, its highest honor. A sympathetic character, Gagarin came from humble origins, Klushinko, a country village. Just outside Moscow, a training facility was named after Gagarin following his death in a 1968 plane crash. Was Yuri Gagarin the first man in space aboard Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961? The sad truth is a far more fitting candidate, Valdimir Ilyushin, son of a Russian aircraft designer and a famous test pilot, was in reality five days earlier–the first. Ilyushin’s flight went badly, however, and came down in China. The “real first man in space” spent the next year in a Chinese hospital before his return. A You Tube video, The Cosmonaut Cover-Up, provides Vladimir Ilyushin’s story. The truth always makes a far more interesting story and this is one!

related update: 50th anniversary of ‘first man in space’

Leave a Reply