The death of Yuri Gagarin

At the BBC: "New details have emerged about the air crash on 27 March 1968 that killed Yuri Gagarin - the first man in space."


  1. I’ve heard it said on Top Gear by a military pilot that you perceive yourself to be travelling faster, the closer you are to the ground. The fastest experience; driving in a low, fast car.
    It seems to me there is a complex and frightening level of irony at work here, I can barely wrap my head around.
    Unless this was some kind of secret emergency flight, it’s likely that the pilot was a fly-boy going nowhere fast.
    ..,and his joy-flight cost the life of someone who risked everything to open up a new frontier.

  2. My first thought when I read “New Information” was that he was killed trying to intercept some sort of US spy platform (baloon, satellite film canister, SR-71 etc…), hence all the secrecy.

    I guess the NSA being responsible for all sorts of crap lately has reset the targeting control for my blame phasers to US Gov.

  3. The “new” element in the linked articles is not that new and seems only to be a declassified report that Alexei Leonov, the first spacewalker and commander of the Soyuz side of Apollo-Soyuz, is now allowed to show in public. However, he was publicly quoted arguing much the same thing fifteen years ago at least, eg on p224 of my edition of Starman: The Truth Behind The Legend Of Yuri Gagarin, by Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony (Bloomsbury, London, 1998).

    The essentials are the same – Gagarin’s plane, a fairly basic Mig-15 on which he was doing simple jet re-qualification training with an instructor after a long period not flying, was flipped over by a bigger supersonic jet passing too fast and too low and far too close in an area it shouldn’t have been in at all, and crashed while trying to recover. The presence of the supersonic jet was covered up. The only difference is that in the book the plane Leonov blames is a Sukhoi Su-11, in the linked news pieces it is an Su-15.

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