The Rebirth of the Russian Space Program: 50 Years After Sputnik, New Frontiers



Every morning, I pass by a large poster in my stairwell of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who in 1961 became the first person to orbit the Earth. On the poster, which my brother found in Central Asia, Gagarin's helmeted head merges into the curve of the Earth. The poster is a powerful reminder of a time when the Soviet space program was the envy of the world, and when it would have seemed to many people quite likely that by 2008 Soviet cosmonauts would be working on the Moon or be on their way to Mars.