Russian ventures in outer space
Today (October 4) we celebrate the Day of Outer Space Forces in Russia (День Космических Войск). Russian ventures in outer space are glorious: the Soviet Union, while competing with the USA, achieved many pioneering accomplishments in space flight.
For instance, Yuri Gagarin (Юрий Гагарин) was the first man to travel into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961. He became an international celebrity and a Soviet hero. He trained cosmonauts for years in Moscow, but unfortunately died when the jet he was piloting crashed in 1968.
Prior to Gagarin’s venture in outer space, Russia achieved the accomplishment of having the first animal orbiting the Earth. In fact, the dog Laika (Лайка) was sent into outer space on board of the spacecraft Sputnik 2 in 1957. This was a necessary step before human missions, because it was believed that no living being could survive being launched into horbit.
Russian outer space program is still ambitious: the country is going to build the first hotel in outer space, set to launch in 2016. And more importantly, Russia is collaborating with Europe to launch missions to sample soil for signs of life.