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April 11, 2024 (EIRNS)–April 12 is Cosmonautics Day in Russia, commemorating the historic first human orbit of the Earth by Yuri Gagarin on that day in 1961. Anyone who is interested in how much of a “seat-of-the-pants” operation the Gagarin flight was, should read Stephen Walker’s 2021 book, Beyond: The Astonishing Story of the First Human To Leave Our Planet and Journey into Space

Last month, an Apollo astronaut Thomas Stafford passed away at the age of 93. General Stafford was the commander of U.S. side of the Apollo-Soyuz joint flight in space with the Russians in 1975. He and his Soyuz counterpart, Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, remained fast friends throughout their lives. Leonov passed away in 2019. See the NASA clip on Stafford’s passing.