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2023 Author: Seth Attwood | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:30
Almost 60 years ago, Gagarin became the first person in history to go into space. However, many secrets and conjectures are associated with his life and death.
The circumstances of the death of the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, who died in a plane crash in 1968, were surrounded by rumors for a very long time.
On March 27, 1968, near the village of Novoselovo in the Vladimir region, a plane crashed, piloted by Yuri Gagarin together with instructor Vladimir Seregin. But they learned about the death of the people's favorite only two days later, and all data about the tragedy were immediately classified. It was this mystery that gave rise to rumors that the disaster was not an accident at all.
There were no complaints
Later, Alexei Leonov, the first man to walk into outer space in a spacesuit, recalled Gagarin's last days: “Yura died on Tuesday, and a few days before that, on Saturday, we decided to have a haircut. We usually did this in the hairdresser's at the Yunost hotel, near the Luzhniki stadium, at the same master named Igor. And when I had my hair cut, I sat down behind my work chair and watched the process.
Yura had a large mole on her neck, about half a centimeter in diameter. And when Igor began to shave closer to his neck with a straight razor, I told him: "Look, don't shave off the beauty itself by accident!" He was not offended, he understood that I was joking, and grunted in response: "Yes, I know, I know …"
Often, when a person dies, we remember something symbolic, unusual in his behavior. Yura had nothing of the kind, no apprehensions there. But as time passed, the behavior of the hairdresser seemed to me not the same as always. Usually, after a haircut, he would sweep the hair off the floor and throw it away. And on that Saturday he neatly gathered Yurin's curls and put them in the locker."
Before the flight, Gagarin, as usual, underwent a medical examination. There were no complaints. Leonov on the day of the accident was not far from the crash site. He reported that he heard two loud explosions.
The official conclusions of the commission: the crew changed direction in flight, made a sharp maneuver and went into a tailspin. The pilots tried to bring the plane to level flight, but still collided with the ground. The crew was killed. Neither a malfunction of the equipment, nor any traces in the blood of the pilots were found.
"This conclusion looks plausible for ordinary people," explained 79-year-old Leonov, "but not professional." The commission's report was classified, and its details are known only from articles and interviews of its individual members. The causes and circumstances of the disaster remain unclear.
To date, there are a huge number of versions of the crash of Gagarin's plane. Here are just a few of them. There are even those according to which Gagarin and Seregin drank vodka before the flight.
The version of Doctor of Technical Sciences S. M. Belotserkovsky, A. A. Leonov and a number of scientists. The most popular version of a plane crash includes a whole range of factors, ranging from bad weather conditions and design flaws in the plane. They could have tried to evade another plane or flock of birds, be caught in the trail of a passing plane, or accidentally caught in an updraft.
Version of the Soyuz-22 spacecraft flight engineer Vladimir Aksenov. He suggested that Gagarin and Seregin made a mistake in difficult weather conditions. “The cloudiness that day was unusual: the bottom edge of the almost solid clouds was about 600 meters above the ground. Then, up to an altitude of 4 thousand meters, the cloud cover was dense, with small rarefaction. No clouds above the top edge: clear sky and very good visibility. We were even shown photographs of the top edge taken from a meteorological reconnaissance aircraft,”notes Aksyonov.
The version of the ace pilot Nikolai Kuznetsov. The head of the Cosmonaut Training Center notes that Seregin was unwell that day: he complained of his heart. Kuznetsov suggested that during the bend, Seregin became ill, and Gagarin did not immediately notice the instructor's condition. According to Kuznetsov, Seregin had a heart attack, he unfastened his seat belts, and his body was thrown into another corner of the cabin, blocking the controls. Gagarin did not abandon his friend and eject.
The version of Igor Kuznetsov, a former employee of the Research Institute of Operation and Repair of Aviation Equipment. According to Kuznetsov's analysis, one of the ventilation valves on the plane remained half-open. The cockpit was not airtight, and the pilots noticed this late. They tried to bring the plane down, but lost consciousness due to a pressure drop. This version is disputed by many.
There are also wilder conspiracy theories. Some argue that Gagarin faked his death, others that he was killed by order of the authorities after a conflict with them.
Gagarin's last letter
Before his flight into space, back in 1961, Gagarin wrote his family a farewell letter - in case he did not return. After the plane crash, the cosmonaut's wife Valentina Gagarina was presented with it. Here is just an excerpt from the letter.
“I fully believe in technology,” wrote Gagarin. “She must not fail. But it happens that out of the blue a person falls and breaks his neck. Something could happen here too. But I don’t believe in it myself yet. Well, if something happens, then I ask you, and first of all you, Valyusha, not to be grief-stricken. After all, life is life, and no one guarantees that he will not be run over by a car tomorrow. Please take care of our girls, love them as I love. Grow out of them, please, not beauties, not mama's daughters, but real people who would not be afraid of the bumps in life."