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NEWS: Singularity University and The U.S. Fund for UNICEF Partner to Advance Global Innovations that Benefit Women and Children

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Singularity University (SU) and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF have announced a new partnership to create transformative technologies that will save and improve the lives of the most vulnerable children and women in developing countries. SU and UNICEF will work together to find sustainable solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in the areas of nutrition, water, energy, security, health, and education.

“At Singularity University, our mission is to educate and empower the brightest people on our planet with the tools of exponential technology and entrepreneurship to solve humanity’s greatest challenges,“ said CEO Rob Nail. “Our new partnership with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF will now give us access to a global network to directly implement these solutions in localities of greatest need.”

A key provision of the partnership is the creation of a UNICEF Innovation Lab on the campus of Singularity University. The new lab will provide UNICEF with access to SU principals, management, start-up companies and the university’s global network of scientists, technologists and entrepreneurs. Together, SU and UNICEF will work with academia, government, and the Silicon Valley business community, as well as young people to expand the network.

full article

Endeavor now open at the Vistors Information Center at KSC in Florida

Saturday, 29 June 2013

And yes these guys do look old..very old

Bruce Bradley WYNY WHN WBZ KMOX dies

Bruce Bradley
St. Louis broadcasters are remembering air personality Bruce Bradley, who died June 22.  He was 79.   Bradley worked at CBS Radio’s news-talk KMOX from 1986-1992.   He also worked in the New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Albany, NY markets.

ARTICLES: Geena Davis Wants More Girls in Toons

What do Congress, Fortune 500 boards and the Animation Guild have in common? Women account for about 17% of their members, and according to Geena Davis’ keynote address at the annual Conference of the Society for Animation on Wednesday, that 17% is true for children’s media, too.

“Seventeen percent of film directors, producers and writers are female,” Davis said.

“And guess what the percentage of females in crowd scenes in animated movies is? 17%,” Davis said at the USC-held conference. The same stat goes for live-action pics. The Bono-proclaimed “factivist”  went on to explain that the ratio of male to female characters hasn’t changed since 1946.

full article

Seeing through other eyes

Sunday, 23 June 2013

“Christchurch: See Through My Eyes”, a visiting photo exhibit on the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, runs from June 21 to July 2012 at the Water Dragon Gallery, Yuchengco Museum, RCBC Plaza Building, Makati City. Sponsored by the New Zealand Embassy in cooperation with Unicef, the exhibit showcases photographs taken by 24 children, aged 11 to 14, from Christchurch. Video by Ryan Leagogo/INQUIRER.net

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/55127/seeing-through-other-eyes#ixzz2X1pDleuV 

Mr Excitement hangs up the headphones.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Morning Personality Mike Addams to Retire from WMJX, Boston.  Longtime Boston radio personality Mike Addams will officially retire from Greater Media’s AC ‘MAGIC 106.7’ 19 years on the station.  His last official day on the air will be Friday, June 28.  Addams joined the station back in August of 1994.  Prior to that, he worked at WODS, WZOU, WHDH, WROR and WRKO.  Greater Media Boston VP and market manager Rob Williams states, “It has been a pleasure to work with a radio pro like Mike Addams.  He has had a wonderful career on some of the top stations in America including the last 19 years on ‘Magic 106.7.’  I wish Mike and his family many happy years of retirement.”  Greater Media Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack McCartneysays, “From the days at WRKO as the exciting Mike Addams to his recent tenure waking up Boston on ‘Magic 106.7,’ Mike has been the consummate professional and has enjoyed a storied career in our ever-changing business.  I respect him greatly, and wish him all the best.”

Space history the first woman in space

First Lady of Space: Tereshkova’s flight TIMELINE

Published time: June 15, 2013 05:05
Edited time: June 17, 2013 11:55
First woman in space Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova is seen during a training session aboard a Vostok spacecraft simulator on January 17, 1964. (AFP Photo / RIA Novosti)
First woman in space Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova is seen during a training session aboard a Vostok spacecraft simulator on January 17, 1964. (AFP Photo / RIA Novosti)
It is 50 years since the Vostok-6 rocket took Valentina Tereshkova to orbit, making her the first ever female to conquer space. RT brings the reconstructed timeline of the Russian's historic mission.
The selection of candidates for the mission began in early 1962. The first female cosmonaut had to meet certain criteria: a parachute jumper, younger than 30, less than 170 cm (5’ 7”) tall, and less than 70kg (154lbs).
Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, born on March 6, 1937, in the Soviet village of Maslennikovo, Yaroslavl Region
Parents had migrated from Belarus. Father was a tractor-driver, mother worked at a textile plant
Tereshkova became the first woman in space on June 16,1963
Hero of the Soviet Union, awarded on June 22, 1963
First woman in the Russian Army to get a rank of Major-General, 1995 (in retirement since April 1997)
State Duma deputy, member of the majority United Russia party
Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs
Got married to the 3rd Soviet cosmonaut Andrian Nikolaev in November 1963
On June 8, 1964, she gave birth to their daughter Elena - the first child in the world whose parents were both cosmonauts
Divorced since 1982 
Finally, out of several hundred candidates, five were selected, including 26-year-old Valentina Tereshkova – a regional champion in skydiving who had 90 jumps under her belt.

On March 12, 1962, Tereshkova became a member of the cosmonaut corps and, along with the other four candidates, began months of tough training which included days spent in the complete silence of a soundproof chamber, zero-gravity tests and exhausting exercises in a heat chamber. 
Tereshkova was last on the list of the candidates, but in the 1960s, political factors mattered a lot, and it was the “proletarian” background, which scored her points.

On June 16, 1963, Tereshkova became the first woman in space. She spent almost three days (70 hours 50 minutes) on the Vostok-6 spacecraft, which was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, in present-day Kazakhstan. She orbited the earth 49 times. Another Soviet spacecraft, Vostok-5 piloted by Valery Bykovsky, was in space at the same time.

RT reconstructed the timeline of Tereshkova’s historic flight, based on open sources, Tereshkova’s after-mission report and interviews, and the published diaries of Nikolay Kamanin, assistant commander-in-chief of the Air Force for space missions from 1960 to 1971, who supervised cosmonauts' training.   

June 19, 1963

11:20 MSK: The Vostok-6 space capsule safely landed near Baevo, in Altai, 620 km north-east of Karaganda. 
Both space craft landed 2 degrees north of the estimated landing point,” Kamanin recalled.  
Communication and search teams made a lot of mistakes. We received reports about the cosmonauts’ state of health only several hours after the landing. We heard about Tereshkova through the land communication lines; and the commander of the aviation wing that circled over the landing site reported on Bykovsky – he saw the space craft, a crowd of people, some vehicles and the cosmonaut. After receiving verified reports on the cosmonauts’ health condition, Korolyov called Moscow and reported the safe landing. By night, it was clear that the second group space flight of the Soviet cosmonauts – including the first woman in space – was successfully completed.” 
The U.S.S.R. Pilot-Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova just after landing in the Vostok-6 spaceship. (RIA Novosti)
The U.S.S.R. Pilot-Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova just after landing in the Vostok-6 spaceship. (RIA Novosti)

Tereshkova’s report: “After deployment of the parachute, I saw the spacecraft underneath. The spacecraft and the seat landed near me. We have to come up with a way to control the parachute canopy, because I landed on my back. Some people ran up to me and tried to help. The spacecraft was 400 meters away. A jet came in an hour, two parachutists descended. In three hours, I was on the phone with Khrushchev, reporting the successful completion of the flight.” 
According to Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper, Tereshkova’s landing was quite harsh. The space capsule was shaped like a ball, so it didn’t have the lift-to-drag ratio. Her descent had a ballistic trajectory; therefore the first female cosmonauts had to deal with a wide landing radius. Also they were ejected at 7 km, but the space capsule parachute deployed only at 4 km. 
"When I was ejected and saw what was underneath, I got terrified, because there was a lake down there,” Valentina Tereshkova said later. “My first thought was – darn, they send one woman and now this woman will end up in the water!” 
Tereshkova also remembers that it was very windy. “I had to remove the locks and unstrap the parachute. But it was impossible to control it, the canopy was huge, and the harness lines – very long. I was carried by the wind. So I had to ‘stand on my head’ for a little bit, finally I unstrapped the parachute, but ended up with a big bruise on my nose,” she recalled.
Doctors had to conceal this bruise, because the beautiful lady wouldn’t look good in front of all the bosses with a shiner,” Tereshkova explained.

Some sources also claim that Tereshkova was almost unconscious when she landed. The woman was immediately transported to a hospital in Moscow. In the evening, the doctors reported that she was out of the woods health wise. 
So the next day they reenacted the landing and filmed it. They put Tereshkova in the capsule and actors played the people running up to it. One of the actors opened the capsule, and Tereshkova was sitting there, smiling. This footage was then shown all over the world. 

Pilot-cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in the cabin of the Vostok-6 spacecraft. (RIA Novosti)
Pilot-cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in the cabin of the Vostok-6 spacecraft. (RIA Novosti)

09:39 MSK: A command to activate the automatic landing cycle was sent to Vostok-6 spacecraft. 
‘Seagull’ performed manual orientation for landing and was maintaining the spacecraft in this position for 15 minutes.
Tereshkova was extremely pleased and reported she had gotten through with her attitude control task,” Kamanin recalled.
Tereshkova’s report: “I have carried out all preparations for the landing and reported readiness. Solar orientation control system went on when the spacecraft was still in the Earth’s shadow. I could hardly hear the retro pack went on. I reported on having performed the commands via radiograms. The Earth was behind my back. The modules detached abruptly. First the spacecraft was moving steadily, but then it started swaying. When the surface of the ship was burning, I could see flames flying past the viewing port. After retraction, the cabin was filled with smoke and wads. The chair quickly detaches and exits the spacecraft in a very slow movement.” 

June 18, 1963

10:00 MSK: Baikonur has started preparing all the data for the landings of both Vostoks. It was decided that Seagull will land on the 49th pass through the orbit, and Hawk – on the 82nd.
Tereshkova’s report: “I didn’t feel the spacesuit on me for the first 24 hours. On the second day I got nagging pain in my right shank, and on the third – it started troubling me. Full-pressure helmet was uncomfortable and tight on my shoulder, and the intercom headset was tight on my left ear... I could feel pain and itching on my head underneath the device. Air conditioning system worked well throughout the flight. At the takeoff the temperature inside the cabin was 30 degrees, at the end of the first 24 hours – 23 degrees. Then it fell to 12 degrees and maintained this temperature.
Even though by the third day in space, Tereshkova was exhausted, she would not admit that.  The mission control center tried to reach her for the last communication session before landing, but she would not receive calls. When the ground team turned the camera on, they found her asleep and had to wake her up to discuss upcoming landing and manual orientation.
Pilot-cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova. Photo reproduction. (RIA Novosti)
Pilot-cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova. Photo reproduction. (RIA Novosti)

Tereshkova had tried orienting the spacecraft manually once, but then honestly admitted she had failed to do that. She was trying to turn Vostok-6 towards the Earth, but each time it would face the opposite direction. It aroused great concerns, as in case automatic orientation breaks down, returning the spaceship to the Earth would become impossible.
Tereshkova had been keeping silent about that emergency situation on board for many years. Just last week, she finally made public that there was an error in the control program that made the spaceship ascend from orbit instead of descending. She reported it to the MCC. 
I entered the data that I got from the Earth into the program,” she told the journalists last week.
Later, after the successful landing, Sergey Korolyov came up to her and asked, as Valentina recalls: “My little Chayka, please, don’t tell anybody about that”. 
And she did not, for decades.
Tereshkova’s report: “Sanitary wipes are not wet enough and are tiny. It would be great to have something for teeth cleaning. I witnessed thunderstorms in the sky above South America. At night you can easily distinguish cities. The Earth and the clouds are beautifully lit by the moonlight. Constellations are difficult to make out.” 

June 17, 1963

10:07 MSK: Vostok-6 flew from North-West to South-East over the cosmonauts’ house at Baikonur and two communication sessions with Tereshkova were held.

The correspondent of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper told Tereshkova he had just had a phone conversation with her mother, who had said she was proud of her daughter and was looking forward to meeting her on Earth. Valentina responded: “Kisses for my mom, the dearest person to me.”
Tereshkova’s report: "Working with the equipment is hard: I couldn’t reach the globe and other devices, so I had to loosen the harness. I was filming cities, clouds and the Moon. Filming and simultaneously putting down what you see is extremely difficult. I haven’t carried out biological tests as I failed to get the samples."
The zero gravity did not cause any discomfort for the cosmonaut.
Pilot-Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova inside Vostok spacecraft simulator. (RIA Novosti)
Pilot-Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova inside Vostok spacecraft simulator. (RIA Novosti)

My hands were floating in the air, so I felt like putting them away under the harness, and during training I felt like leaning against the chair,” Tereshkova said later, in her report.
Food in tubes, though, appeared to be quite a challenge. 
"The bread is stale – I didn’t eat it. I was craving for black bread, potatoes and onions. The water is chilly and pleasant. Juices and beefsteaks were also fine. I vomited once, but that was not because of vestibular disturbance, that was because of the food," Tereshkova wrote.
Tereshkova didn’t keep the logbook as her two pencils had broken.
On the same day, Vostok-5 pilot Bykovsky said “Connection with Chaika is excellent; she is humming songs to me.” 
During the first day we had excellent connection with Hawk, on the second day until the afternoon it was satisfactory, and then we lost it. But I could hear the ground talk to him, so it was amazing to know Hawk was soaring in space somewhere next to me.” 

June 16, 1963

22:00 MSK: Tereshkova talked to Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, and reported to him on the mission.
Tereshkova’s report: 
"The Vostok-6 launch was a very smooth one. We had good connection and I could hear all the commands. The gravity load was easy to bear… As the ship went into zero gravity, I had no painful sensations. I established connection with Hawk in the shadow of the Earth. I saw a star that shone three times as bright as Vega and I took it for Vostok-5."
On the same day, the cosmonaut noticed a mistake in the automatic navigation software: the spacecraft was moving further and further from the planet, instead of slowly going down towards it. She reported that to the ground.

12:30 MSK: The Vostok-6 ship is successfully launched and orbited.
Right before the launch, Tereshkova said her famous since then “Hey, sky! Take off your hat, I'm coming!” Later, when the cosmonaut was asked about this phrase, she told the journalists “I had never planned to say this. It was rather on the spur of the moment.
Screenshot of a "Soviets in Space" documentary. Depicting a soviet cosmonaut and Hero of the Soviet Union Valentina Tereshkova.(RIA Novosti)
Screenshot of a "Soviets in Space" documentary. Depicting a soviet cosmonaut and Hero of the Soviet Union Valentina Tereshkova.(RIA Novosti)

12:15 MSK: The bus brought ‘Seagull’ to the launching site. She reported to the Chairman of the State Commission the “Cosmonaut Tereshkova is ready for the launch.”
The lady was presented with a flower bouquet, which she immediately handed over to Korolyov.

11:00 MSK: Tereshkova put on her space suit. The medical check-up was also performed and it went well.
Walking up the stairs, to get into the spacecraft was pretty difficult in a heavy spacesuit. That is not to mention the jitters: Tereshkova’s pulse was at 140 beats per minute as she was entering the ship. Once on board, it took her some ten to fifteen minutes to establish radio connection with the ground and then she reported on the equipment check-up.
On the day of the flight, Tereshkova told her family that she was leaving to take part in a parachuting contest – up until the successful launch the entire mission was classified.  Her mother only learnt about her heroic daughter on the radio. 

June 15, 1963

19:00 MSK: The pre-launch team and space industry officials meet with the Vostok-6 crew. Everyone brought Tereshkova flowers and wished her a safe flight.

After the meeting, the girls changed to casual clothes and together with Sergey Korolyov went on board Vostok-6. At night Tereshkova and Solovyova went to the cosmonauts’ house and started to prepare for the launch.
17:00 MSK: Tereshkova meets the pre-launch team. Moscow decides to keep it secret that Tereshkova is an army officer in the first media report about her mission and it was decided that she must be wearing civilian clothes. 
In the morning Vostok-6 was placed on the launch pad at Baikonur. The launch of the craft is scheduled for June 16, 12:30 Moscow time.
Pilot-Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova before lift-off.(RIA Novosti)
Pilot-Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova before lift-off.(RIA Novosti)

June 14, 1963

17:00 MSK: Vostok-5 was launched, piloted by Valery Bykovsky, code name Yastreb (Hawk). The flight would continue for about five days, with the cosmonaut landing successfully on June 19, after making 82 orbit passes. He would set a record of space flight duration. During the flight, the pilot would manage various systems of the spacecraft, establish radio connection with the Earth and between the ships and, also, conduct scientific research, mainly focused on how a human body changes in space.  

June 10, 1963

22:30 MSK: The launch of Vostok-5 got cancelled due to a series of strong solar flares. It means that radiation in space may rise to a dangerous level for the pilot. It’s the first time a launch is canceled.   
Left to right: Pavel Popovich, German Titov, Andriyan Nikolayev, Yuri Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova, Nikita Khrushchev and Valery Bykovsky on the mausoleum rostrum at the meeting on success of the Vostok-5 and Vostok-6 space missions.(RIA Novosti / V. Malyshev)
Left to right: Pavel Popovich, German Titov, Andriyan Nikolayev, Yuri Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova, Nikita Khrushchev and Valery Bykovsky on the mausoleum rostrum at the meeting on success of the Vostok-5 and Vostok-6 space missions.(RIA Novosti / V. Malyshev)

June 9, 1963

09:00 MSK: Vostok-5 ship was prepared for the launch.

On the very same day, the cosmonauts and the pre-launch team took a motorboat trip along the Syr Darya River and cooked fish soup together. 
They flew Vostok spacecraft: Pilots-Cosmonauts of the USSR Heroes of the Soviet Union Valery Bykovsky (left), Valentina Tereshkova (center) and Yuri Gagarin (right).(RIA Novosti)
They flew Vostok spacecraft: Pilots-Cosmonauts of the USSR Heroes of the Soviet Union Valery Bykovsky (left), Valentina Tereshkova (center) and Yuri Gagarin (right).(RIA Novosti)

June 8, 1963

17:00 MSK:  The State Space Commission meeting. The chairman of the commission suddenly asked a question: ‘Should we mention that Tereshkova is an officer when we first announce her flight?” The majority supported introducing her as the Air Force Officer.

It was decided to launch Vostok-6 with a female cosmonaut two days after the launch of Vostok-5 piloted by a male cosmonaut. Under the plan, the man was to spend two days in space alone; then both craft would stay together for three days and land at the same time.

The same day, Tereshkova boarded her Vostok-6 and examined the craft and its equipment together with the lead engineer.

Tereshkova makes a very good impression on everyone. She treats people equally; she is full of tact and dignity,” Nikolay Kamanin, the man in charge of cosmonauts training, recalled in his diaries. 
Valentina Tereshkova exercising (RIA Novosti)
Valentina Tereshkova exercising (RIA Novosti)

June 5, 1963

Kamanin held a training session with all cosmonauts, doctors and other specialists to ensure a common understanding of 37 instructions that everyone – both on Earth and in orbit – were obliged to know.

The teams also agreed to introduce code words that could be used in open radio talks during the flights.

For instance, when a cosmonaut reports that “I am feeling fine, the spacecraft’s equipment is working fine” it means a space mission should continue as normal as there are no concerns about health or equipment. When they say “well” instead of “fine” it would mean that a cosmonaut is not really sure they would be able to complete their mission. The word “satisfactory” in a report would mean that the flight should be terminated. 
Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova gets ready for centrifuge training.(RIA Novosti)
Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova gets ready for centrifuge training.(RIA Novosti)

June 4, 1963

The State Space Commission held a meeting on launching the Vostoks spacecraft – their readiness to go into orbit and flight missions. At the gathering, Jr. Lt. Tereshkova was approved to pilot Vostok-6, and Major Bykovsky – Vostok-5. 
Valentina Tereshkova in vestibular apparatus training.(RIA Novosti)
Valentina Tereshkova in vestibular apparatus training.(RIA Novosti)

June 3, 1963

09:00 AM: Tereshkova, Solovyova and Ponomaryova start trying on their spacesuits and adjusting harnesses and chairs. Tereshkova’s code name was Chaika, or Seagull in Russian, and there was a picture of the bird embroidered on the shoulder of her heat-protective suit.
Pilot-Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (left) before lift-off.(RIA Novosti)
Pilot-Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (left) before lift-off.(RIA Novosti)

June 1, 1963

10:00 MSK: Tereshkova, her back-ups Irina Solovyova and Valentina Ponomaryova, and a group of 35 people including the first spaceman Yuri Gagarin arrived at Baikonur space launch facility by Antoshin AN-10 plane.  Sergey Korolyov and others met them at the site.

On a skating rink (left to right): Tatiana Pitskhelauri, Irina Solovyeva, Valentina Tereshkova and Valentina Ponomaryova.(RIA Novosti)
On a skating rink (left to right): Tatiana Pitskhelauri, Irina Solovyeva, Valentina Tereshkova and Valentina Ponomaryova.(RIA Novosti)

Yuri we never knew..the story from Russia Today

Death of Yuri Gagarin demystified 40 years on

Published time: June 14, 2013 04:42
Edited time: June 15, 2013 18:17
Yuri Gagarin (RIA Novosti / B. Smirnov)
Yuri Gagarin (RIA Novosti / B. Smirnov)
After over 40 years of secrecy, the real cause of death of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space, has been made public. Prominent Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Leonov reveals the truth behind the events of that tragic day.
For over 20 years Aleksey Leonov, the first man to conduct a spacewalk in 1965, has been struggling to gain permission to disclose details of what happened to the legendary Yuri Gagarin in March 1968. 
Back then a State Commission established to investigate the accident (which Leonov was a part of), concluded that a crew of MiG-15UTI, Yuri Gagarin and experienced instructor Vladimir Seryogin, tried to avoid a foreign object – like geese or a hot air balloon – by carrying out a maneuver that had led to a tailspin and, finally, collision with the ground. Both pilots died in that test flight. 
“That conclusion is believable to a civilian – not to a professional,” Leonov told RT. He has always had a firm stance against the secrecy surrounding Gagarin’s death, and wanted at least his family to know the truth. 
"In fact, everything went down differently,” he says.
Cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin (L) and Alexey Leonov (RIA Novosti)
Cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin (L) and Alexey Leonov (RIA Novosti)

According to a declassified report, there is a human factor behind the tragic incident - an unauthorized SU-15 fighter jet was flying dangerously close to Gagarin’s aircraft. 
Leonov had been in charge of parachute jump training on that day. The weather was extremely bad, with rain, wind and snow making it impossible to carry out exercises. He waited for an official confirmation that the exercises would be cancelled, but then heard a super-sonic noise followed by an explosion only a second apart from each other. That is when he knew something was up. 
“We knew that a Su-15 was scheduled to be tested that day, but it was supposed to be flying at the altitude of 10,000 meters or higher, not 450-500 meters. It was a violation of the flight procedure.”
Leonov that day talked to witnesses that pointed at the model of a Su-15 saying that it appeared out of the clouds with its tail smoking and burning.
“While afterburning the aircraft reduced its echelon at a distance of 10-15 meters in the clouds, passing close to Gagarin, turning his plane and thus sending it into a tailspin – a deep spiral, to be precise – at a speed of 750 kilometers per hour,” Leonov tells. 
According to the report that Seryogin wrote in his own hand, no aerobatic maneuvers or spins were to be performed by the crew of the MiG-15 with RD-45 engine and external fuel tanks, 260 liters each.  Simple turns, pitching and nosedives were conducted after which Yuri reported: “Codename 645, task completed, descending” Leonov explains.
“That was the last we heard from him. The control point recorded that he was at the altitude of 4,200 at the time. 55 seconds later the plane crashed.”
Leonov then was ordered to return to the Chkalovsky airfield, where he received the news that Gagarin’s plane was supposed to have run out of fuel 45 minutes ago. Leonov’s worst suspicions were confirmed when someone had called back reporting a crash site near the village of Novoselovo. 
“We sent a team there which found the remains of the plane and the remains of Seryogin. No remains of Gagarin, except for his map case and a purse. So we first thought that he managed to eject. We sent a battalion of soldiers who combed the forest for the whole night. They shouted so that he could hear them, but all they found were remains of a balloon. It was only the next day that we found the remains of Yuri Gagarin. I identified him by a dark mole on the neck which I had spotted just three days before. A commission was set up to investigative the cause of the crash. Gherman Titov and I were invited to take part in the probe as experts.”
The truth that was concealed reads more like a thriller story. When Leonov was given clearance to view the actual incident report all these years later, he found a great many inconsistencies. But the issue was with Leonov’s own report: it had his name on it, but was written in a different hand, with the facts jumbled up.
“It had been something like this. Marked here was a sonic spike, a blast, followed by one-and-a-half or two seconds of supersonic noise... So, when I looked at the copy, I suddenly noticed that it stated this noise interval to be 15 to 20 seconds long instead of the two seconds that I had reported. That suggested that the two jets must have been no less than fifty kilometers apart."
Alexey Leonov
Alexey Leonov

With the aid of computers, the fresh investigation was able to glean insight into exactly what caused Gagarin to go into a fatal spiral at breakneck speed. They did this by inputting Gagarin’s 55 second plunge together with the 750km speed at which he crashed.
“So we used a computer to figure out a trajectory that would relate to this interval of 55 seconds. And it turned out to be a deep spiral. Now, a jet can sink into a deep spiral if a larger, heavier aircraft passes by too close and flips it over with its backwash. And that is exactly what happened to Gagarin. That trajectory was the only one that corresponded with all our input parameters.”
Leonov then started going public with the story. This was followed by press conferences - some of them televised. Renowned test pilots were invited to scrutinize and challenge Leonov’s testimony.
“My guess would be that one of the reasons for covering up the truth was to hide the fact that there was such a lapse so close to Moscow”.
There is a record of General Zapolskiy talking to the Su-15 pilot that leaves no doubt of the pilot’s fault for creating such circumstances that led to the incident.
However, the name of the man responsible for Gagarin’s death is still not being disclosed. Keeping him anonymous was a condition under which Leonov was allowed to talk.
It is only known that the pilot is now 80 years old and is in poor health.
“I was asked not to disclose the pilot’s name. He is a good test pilot…It will fix nothing,” Leonov said. 
Nikolay Stroev, Deputy Head of the Military-Industrial Commission of the USSR said that the incident happened with no intention on his part as the pilot didn’t see the other plane in the clouds as he passed  “on supersonic speed in fractions of a second, maybe 10 or 20 meters away”.
Conspiracy theories have surrounded the events of that day for years. They included suicide – even a collision with a UFO.
But for all intents and purposes, the case is closed, and the newfound truth should provide those affected with closure. Such is the conclusion of the first woman in space, Russian Valentina Tereshkova. She spoke at a press conference at the UN headquarters in Vienna, where she participated in a conference of the Committee for the Peaceful Use of Outer Space.
“The only regret here is that it took so long for the truth to be revealed,” she said. “But we can finally rest easy.”
Gagarin’s passing was not only a tragedy, but a career-ending moment for Tereshkova. The state simply wouldn’t let her fly anymore, as the possibility of losing a second cosmonaut of such stature would have been simply catastrophic.
“They forbade me from flying ever again, even piloting planes. The repercussions of the death of one cosmonaut were so great that they wanted to keep me safe.”
But the source of Tereshkova’s deepest sadness still lies with Gagarin’s passing. She tried to hold back tears, as she spoke: “I still miss him. It is a loss not only for us cosmonaut colleagues, but for the entire community.”

First female cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (RIA Novosti)
First female cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (RIA Novosti)

The new Ashcans

PHOTOGRAPHY / EXHIBITIONS: Christchurch children tell their stories in earthquake photo exhibit

Sunday, 16 June 2013

MANILA, Philippines – The New Zealand Embassy, in cooperation with UNICEF, is bringing to Manila the photography exhibition entitled “Christchurch: See Through My Eyes”.

The exhibition showcases photographs taken by 24 children from Christchurch, New Zealand, and illustrates how the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes affected their lives and communities.

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