April 12, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s Vostok 1 flight. Only four years after Sputnik ignited the space age, Gagarin became the first man to venture into space; the mission lasted 108 minutes and he made one orbit around the globe. Upon his return to Earth, he was lauded as a hero and the Soviet Union enjoyed its continued position as the leading power in space.
But in the years and decades that followed, details of the flight revealed a very different picture of this historic Soviet accomplishment. Read more about The Enigmatic Vostok 1 at Vintage Space. (Pictured, the Huntsville Times announces Gagarin’s flight. 1961.)