Interview with Yuri Gagarin, but you are Yuri.

Yuri Gagarin: First Man In Space

“The passage from weightlessness to gravitation was gradual and smooth as I descended. I always wanted to be a space traveller.” you tell a Soviet interviewer. “The wish to be in space was my wish. When I was handed this task, I set about preparing for the flight, and as you see, my wish has come true!”

The interviewer is keen to hear your outlooks on your space adventure. He asks, “Can you describe the look you got out from the earth?”

You quench his thirst saying, “The sunlit side of our earth is visible quite well, and one can easily distinguish the shore of continents, islands, great rivers, large areas of water, and folds of the land.”

For illustration purposes only — Map of Egypt

His face lights up with glee and you continue, “Flying over Soviet territory I saw distinctly the great squares of the fields of collective farms and I could make out which was ploughland and which was meadowland.”- he proceeds his scribbling on the dusty notepad — “Before this, I had never been beyond 15,000 metres (49,213 feet). From the spacecraft, one does not, of course, see as well as from an aeroplane, but very, very well all the same. During the flight, I saw for the first time with my very own eyes the earth’s spherical shape. You can see its curvature when looking directly to the horizon.”

“It looks very beautiful right?”

Earth’s Horizon from Space

“I must say the view of the horizon is unique and very beautiful. It is possible to see the remarkably colourful change from the light surface of the earth to the completely black sky in which one can see the stars. This dividing line is very thin, just like a belt of film surrounding the earth’s sphere. It is of delicate blue colour. And this transition from the blue to the dark is very gradual and lovely. It is difficult to put it in words.”

You gulp down some water and lean with an exhale. He comes up with the next question, “How was it there in the mid-air?”

After a moment of reminiscing, you break your silence, “When I emerged from the shadow of the earth the horizon looked different. There was a bright orange strip along with it, which again passed into a blue hue and once again into a dense black colour.”

“Whoa!”

“I did not see the moon. The sun in outer space is ten times brighter than here on earth. The stars are visible very well: they are bright and distinct. The whole picture of the heavens is much more contrasty than when seen from the earth.”

“When weightlessness sets in, it was -”

“-sensational!” You complete his sentence and smile.

“Everything was easier to perform, and this is understandable. Legs and arms weigh nothing. Objects are swimming in the cabin, and I could not sit in the chair as before, but was suspended in mid-air. During the state of weightlessness, I ate and drank and everything was like on earth. I was working in that state, noting my observations. The handwriting did not change, though the hand was weightless. But it was necessary to hold the writing block, as otherwise, it would float away from the hands. I was in communication contact on various channels, using a telegraph key.”

“From weightlessness to gravity, how was it, sir?”

“I was convinced that weightlessness does indeed affect the ability to work normally. Thereafter, the passage from weightlessness to gravitation, to the appearance of the force of gravity, happens smoothly. Arms and legs feel as previously, the same as during weightlessness, but now they have weight. I ceased to be suspended over the chair but eased myself into it.” you idle into breaths of calm.

It was him who broke the muteness, “then what about when you returned to Earth?”

“When I returned to the earth I was overjoyed. I was warmly met by our Soviet people. I was moved to tears by Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev’s telegram. I was moved by his solicitude, interest, and warmth. My greatest joy came when I spoke by telephone to Khrushchev and President Brezhnev. My heartfelt gratitude, my filial thanks to Nikita Sergeyevich for his solicitude for my person.”

He looks into your eyes with a sweet smile and speaks slowly, “finally, what do you feel about the United States’ intention to send a man into space?”

“We shall welcome the successes of the American cosmonauts when they have flown. There is room in space for everybody. Our party and Government are posing the question of peaceful exploitation of space, of peaceful competition. Space shouldn’t be used for the military but for peaceful purposes. The American cosmonauts will have to catch up with us.