PostHeaderIcon Wading in the Waters

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin

 

On 12 April 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel into space, launching to orbit aboard the Vostok.

Moving past all the political hate, the Soviet Union hiding all sorts of numerous facts and news from the public and the American’s fear and nerves as they scrambled to catch up to Russian tech and intelligence, there was a man who was ready to face the dragons of what traveling into space would be.

As the earlier European and Asiatic sailors began navigating their boats straight into the seemingly infinite ocean horizon, they had a wealth of things to cause them fear, make them wary of the trek. Hurricanes, serpents, unexpected banks without lighthouses, loss of food and clean water, and gods against them, yet there were countless sailors striking out. While many did not return, many did.

But then many years later we turned our boats to the cosmic ocean. Regardless of nationality, we humans, our brothers and sisters, struck out into space. Leading the way was Yuri.

So while we come around on the 50th golden anniversary of humans entering space, what have we achieved? Well, we’ve stepped foot on the moon. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but when did we achieve that? July 21, 1969, eight years later. Eight years was all it took from worrying about Gagarin loosing his mind to the unknowns of weightlessness and outer space, to taking a human all the way to the moon, jumping out, and hopping around on it.

It takes 29 years more before we launch our International Space Station in 1998. A semi-permanent residency in low Earth orbit. We’re now in 2011 and 13 years later, with the words from a certain president saying no more manned space missions, and a shuttle program that is being retired with no real ready replacement.

“Before this first flight there were reasonable suspicions that human beings weren’t made for this environment,” James Oberg, a NASA veteran, said. “And once Gagarin answered that question, I think every other discovery on every other manned spaceflight was just details. He answered the most challenging, the most awesome question by his performance.”

Gagarin had the courage to face the unknowns of space and defeated those dragons so that we would be able to sail further than we ever had before, into space.

We have crossed rivers; we have crossed oceans. We have crossed the cosmic river separating us from our moon, but we can go further. We must keep pushing the limit. We cannot shy away from the achievements waiting for us just past the moon.

To read more about Yuri Gagrin from AP and Wikipedia.

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