- 1476 views
“From up here the Earth is beautiful, without boundaries or borders”, Juri Alexieievich Gagarin.
It was April 12, 1961 when Juri Alexieievich Gagarin was the first human being to orbit the Earth aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft, beating America once again in the middle of the Cold War, after the successful launch of Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957.
Gagarin entered the Vostok 1 spacecraft at 7:10 a.m., but a technical problem with the closing hatch, which was later solved, delayed the launch by almost an hour.
Then the extraordinary enterprise began: the probe travelled in an almost complete orbit around the Earth in 106 minutes, a speed of 27,000 km/h and a distance from the Earth's surface of 327 km.
No man had ever done this; America arrived in orbit only after 23 days with Alan Shepard on May 5, 1961 aboard the Freedom 7 spacecraft.
Juri Gagarin was the first human being to see the spherical shape of the Earth and to experience the absence of gravity by witnessing an unprecedented and wonderful spectacle from the small porthole of Vostok 1.
Upon his return, Gagarin became a national icon and an international celebrity; the Soviet propaganda machine went to work and of course also the philatelic one.
Just 24 hours after the landing of Yuri Gagarin, on 13 April 1961, the first USSR postage stamp was issued, followed, on the 17th, by two other specimens celebrating the extraordinary feat and its protagonist, and then, by the rest of the world with hundreds of stamps commemorative of the first man in Space.
In this struggle between superpowers - and opposing ideologies - to conquer the unknown, mail had the role and task of being a testimony of the moment, then, and in the future to come, up to the present day.
Envelopes, letters, space letters and stamps that tell of Space flights and scientific achievements that have entered humanity's Gotha.