Further to our recent post on Sotheby’s sale of a slightly-used Vostok, this week marked the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight by Maj. Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, Hero of the Soviet Union. Along with numerous media stories reporting the anniversary international affairs editor Din Heagney brought to our attention this rather lovely tribute to the late Major’s pioneering space flight…
Christopher Riley: First Orbit
The Cosmic-Minded Director Pays Homage to Yuri Gagarin, the First Man in Space
Today’s short retraces the monumental journey made by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who 50 years ago tomorrow became the first man in space. To celebrate the pioneer’s round-the-world tour aboard the Vostok 1, director Christopher Riley has recreated Gagarin’s voyage for his 108-minute film First Orbit. Riley worked with the European Space Agency and the International Space Station to calculate the exact times that the station’s orbital path lined up with the Vostok’s original route, which started from the launch site in Kazakhstan, and took in the Pacific Ocean night sky past Chile and the South Atlantic into sunrise, before finally heading north-eastwards over Africa and ending with a parachute landing in Saratov, Russia. Astronaut Paolo Nespoli filmed the majority of the high-definition footage, which is woven together with historic recordings of Gagarin and an original score by composer Philip Sheppard. Today’s NOWNESS preview was made exclusively for POST magazine’s second issue, POST Gravity, an outer-space-themed special; the full film will be released worldwide tomorrow via a global streaming on YouTube. NOWNESS spoke to Riley, who was also behind the 2007 documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, about his fascination with the cosmos.”
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