It's long past time I gave a nod in this blog to Jim Oberg, writer, historian, NASA veteran, and general finder-of-things. As the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight approaches, Oberg has collected a number of his pieces about the flight and the era that surrounded it. This includes Oberg's dashing of some myths and false claims that have grown up around the event, such as that Gagarin was really #2. (Some years ago, I got an email from someone making a documentary about a supposed pre-Gagarin cosmonaut. When I replied by pointing out it was impossible, because every one of the R-7 boosters made through 1961 had been accounted for, he send me a reply full of praise for his "award-winning" documentary team and several f-words directed at my stupidity. I think that is the same documentary Jim eviscerates here.
Anyway, mark your calendars, April 12, 1961 - 50 years of humans in space!