Ejection before landing

Mission planners avoided splashdowns at sea, in case US Navy ships were in the recovery area with surveillance cameras at the ready. Instead the Vostok crew modules were brought down on land, safely within Soviet territory. The favoured touchdown site was in the Saratov region, near the Volga river. Soviet propaganda claimed that the Vostok crews returned to Earth inside their craft. This was not strictly true. They could not have survived the heavy capsule’s impact with the ground, but had to eject 23,000 feet before touchdown and descend under a separate parachute. capsule re-entry Gagarin swithes to manual control and saves his lifeVostok’s ejection seat contained solid rocket motors to blast it free of the cabin, a small reservoir of oxygen, a separate radio, and an inflatable life raft, just in case the cosmonaut fell into a river or a lake.

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