Today's Distraction: An Orbit Around Earth, The Way Gagarin Saw It

Apr 12, 2011

Today we note another big anniversary: 50 years ago, in 1961, Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, when, as NASA puts it, Gagarin completed a "108-minute orbital flight in his Vostok 1 spacecraft."

To mark the occasion, The Attic Room, a media company in Britain, collaborated with the astronauts aboard the International Space Station and created a 108-minute film that — in real-time — retraces what Gagarin saw 50 years ago. That means that they retraced Vostok 1's original orbit around Earth. As Wired reports, that wasn't easy:

But getting it right, and matching Vostok 1's orbital path as closely as possible, was far from easy. The ISS only mimics the Russian's journey — following the same trajectory, during the same time of day — once every six weeks. The ISS astronaut had to get it right the first time to capture Gagarin's journey.

The filmmakers piece together some stunning footage along with some historical sights and sounds. So here it is; it's called First Orbit: Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit