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7th April 2011, 12:35pm
Countdown to cosmonaut film at the University
Yuri Gagarin The University of Lincoln is to screen a new film charting Yuri Gagarin’s first space flight next Tuesday (12 April), as part of a world-wide celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the mission.

First Orbit has been made by documentary film director Dr Christopher Riley (In the Shadow of the Moon) and combines archive audio communication between Gagarin and mission control with new footage specially shot on the International Space Station by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli.

Dr Riley, who is a Senior Visiting Fellow in Media at the University, said: “We have woven historic Vostok I mission recordings of Gagarin (subtitled in English) with new shots captured by Paolo Nespoli, and edited them to an original score by composer Philip Sheppard, creating a spellbinding film which I’m thrilled to be able to share with people around the world for free on this historic anniversary.”

The film will be screened in the MHT Building foyer on the Brayford campus throughout the day at 8.45am, 12 noon and 3pm.  All are invited to this free event. It is also being shown in over 500 locations around the world, including Lincoln Cathedral at 10am.

Geoff Thompson of the Lincoln School of Media has arranged the screenings at the University and Cathedral. He said: “It is fascinating to think that Yuri Gagarin’s space flight in Vostok 1 came only 58 years after the Wright brothers flying machine made its first brief, tentative flight.  

“Listening to the communication between the ‘space pilot’ (cosmonaut was not yet in our language) and mission control, as it became known, it is remarkable how little jargon there is.  A woman and her daughter witnessed the moment when Gagarin, wearing an orange spacesuit and white helmet, landed by parachute.

“He said he told them: ‘Don’t be afraid, I am a Soviet like you who has descended from space and I must find a telephone to call Moscow!’   Sadly Yuiri Alekseyevich Gagarin died on 23 March 1968, having just turned 34, when an aeroplane he was flying crashed.”

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