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50 Years Ago

Science Past from the issue of April 22, 1961

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RUSSIAN FIRST MAN IN SPACE — The Russians put the first man in orbit and returned him safely. A Soviet Air Force major, father of two, has circled the earth in 89.1 minutes, and come back, the official Russian news agency Tass reported. The height of the orbit varied from 110 to 188 miles. Maj. Yuri Gagarin, 27, landed at 2:55 EST, April 12, without suffering any harm.… The Soviet success in orbiting and recovering a man from space means that they can get a man on the moon in four or five years, and probably will. The best the United States can hope to do is get an American to the moon in 1971, according to an estimate by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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