Yuri’s Year!

As 2011, the 50th anniversary year of the world’s first manned spaceflight draws to a close, the ‘Yuri’s Day’ crew can look back on some amazing experiences, conscious that we really owe all of them to the power of Yuri Gagarin’s personality, and the achievements of Sergei Korolev and his teams of space hardware engineers.

Getting our first edition out in time for Christmas 2010 was quite a challenge. While we knew there would be a lot of interest in the story of the First Flight during 2011, we were delighted by the enthusiastic response to ‘Yuri’s Day’, especially from countries of the former Soviet Union.

It was quite a surprise to find ourselves being interviewed on Russian and Ukrainian TV, and featured on many internet news feeds. Looking back, the reason why is obvious: Yuri was not just a brave man who took the ‘hot seat’ for an epic flight, he also proved afterwards to be one of history’s ‘great communicators’. His personality and character impressed so many people around the world, that any re-telling of his story is bound to attract attention, especially if, like ‘Yuri’s Day’, it was in a slightly unusual format.

Many readers of the first edition, who contacted us via the website, had helpful criticism and sometimes, new information to offer, and we took note of these points in our second, hardback edition, which includes these and many other improvements.

A very exciting moment for us, was to see the Russian language edition in print, the result of an intense and interesting collaboration with our skilled translator.

2011 also saw the launch of our Facebook page, and the production of e-book editions of ‘Yuri’s Day’, including the iPad app, with embedded video.

Looking ahead, we want to maintain this website as an extra resource for readers of the book, so watch out for new articles, including more in our ongoing series explaining some of the keywords of the Cold War period and how they relate to Yuri’s story.

2011 has had a slightly downbeat ending in space news, with the ending of the US Shuttle program, and a series of problems with Soyuz rocket launches. These events highlight just how difficult it was to build ‘The Road to the Stars’ and how much effort and skill goes into keeping it open.

Whatever the recent problems, 2011 not only marked 50 years of manned space-flight, it was the year that humanity started to think seriously again about its future in space, and stopped taking for granted the astonishing achievements of all the men and women, on both sides of the old Cold War divide, who got us there.

With best New Year wishes to all our readers, on line and off.

Poyekhali!

The ‘Yuri’s Day’ Crew

 

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