April 12, 1961 took place first manned flight into space - this is the official version known to every student. But for more than fifty years, disputes about this fact have not subsided: is it really Yuri Gagarin was the first astronaut? Or was he the first to survive as a result of experimentation? At the moment, there are many attempts to refute a fact that has long been considered obvious. According to some reports, Gagarin was the fourth cosmonaut, according to others - even the twelfth!
Rumors arise where there is a lack of information and heightened public interest. The attention of all countries of the world was riveted to the first manned flight into space, and many documents are still classified. As a result, many myths were born, produced by both foreign and Russian sources.
According to Mikhail Rudenko, a former senior experimental engineer of OKB-456, there were at least three pilots in space before Gagarin: in 1957 - Ledovskikh, in 1958 - Shaborin, in 1959 - Mitkov. All of them allegedly died, and therefore their names were not previously disclosed, because they did not talk about failures in the USSR. All three were test pilots with no special training. In any case, the Italian telegraph agency said so.
However, aviation historian Andrei Simonov writes that there is no information about these pilots in the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense. And at this time, there were indeed missile launches with dogs on board, which died due to the depressurization of the cockpit.
The foreign press also named the names of Kachur, Zavodovsky, Grachev, Mikhailov and Belokonov among the dead cosmonauts. However, their relatives claim that they were all test technicians. Their names, unlike the designers and members of the cosmonaut corps, were not classified and were mentioned in the Soviet press. And already in the West, due to a lack of information, they were turned into dead cosmonauts.
In the Guinness Book of Records for 1964, the son of a famous aircraft designer, test pilot Vladimir Ilyushin was named the first cosmonaut. But astronautics historians write that he was never in space, and was not injured in flight, but as a result of a car accident. Another pilot, Valentin Bondarenko, actually died not in space, but during tests in an isolation chamber.
Be that as it may, Yuri Gagarin earned his right to fly into space. He was subjected to incredible physical and psychological stress in the preparation process: he once spent 10 days in complete isolation in a "room of silence." But the decisive factor was not even physical endurance and poise, but honesty - Gagarin was the only one who admitted that training in a centrifuge was very difficult for him. And while there is no irrefutable evidence that someone had flown into space before him, Yuri Gagarin remains the world's No. 1 cosmonaut.
Whether he was the first or not, Yuri Gagarin was very loved both in the USSR and abroad. This is evidenced by monuments to Russian geniuses installed abroad
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