Sunday, April 17, 2011

One Small Pee For Man...

This photo is a rarity: it shows an odd tradition of Russian cosmonauts.
Just before taking their seats inside the space ship, they all have a leak on the wheel of the bus which takes them to the launching site. I believe this pic is the first time it's been caught on film in 40 years of space launches!
The tradition was started by Russian pioneer Yuri Gagarin, the first man to actually reach space - 50 years ago this week, on 12 April 1961. In Gagarin's case the pee was simple necessity, but now it's a beloved if rather peculiar tradition!
Gagarin died during a routine training exercise flight on 27 March 1968. Details of the plane crash were hushed up back then by the Soviet government, but the common belief now is that the plane tangled with weather balloons and crashed before Gagarin could recover.
His death was somewhat ironic, as he had been banned from any further space missions because his value as a Soviet hero was too high to put at risk. Gagarin insisted on flying though, and that was his downfall...

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