Fifty years ago this April, Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space, orbiting the planet once in a 108-minute flight. A new film set to premiere on the anniversary of Vostok 1’s voyage aims to recreate what he saw.
ESA astronaut Pablo Nespoli and British filmmaker Christopher Riley made a new film, “First Orbit,” splicing together archival footage and audio from Gagarin’s flight with HD video shot from the cupola window on the International Space Station.
One year ago, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, and the University of Arizona held their breath as the Phoenix Mars Lander hurtled toward its final descent and touchdown in the northern arctic plains of Mars. It was the first spacecraft landing on Mars without airbags since Viking 2 landed in 1976.
At 4:53:44 PM Pacific time on May 25, 2008, radio signals confirmed that Phoenix had survived its final descent and had landed safely on the Martian surface. The tricky and precise maneuvers involved with the spacecraft's entry, descent, and landing were executed in a manner described as "textbook perfect," leaving Phoenix poised almost perfectly level on the Martian surface. And the crowd at Mission Control went wild.