Page 2 - The First Men In Space

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Soviet lapel pins for the workers on the Vostok I flight of Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok I.

The first man in space was cosmonaut (space sailor) Yuri Gargarin from the Soviet Union. He flew aboard Vostok I on April 12, 1961. Two small globes with Vostok I circling.

A 1961 desk statue in honor of Yuri Gagarin's sucessful flight. About 9 inches tall. Purchased from a Russian dealer. A 1961 Soviet cigarette case in honor of Yuri Gagarin's sucessful flight. From a Russian dealer.

A small 1961 Soviet desk thermometer showing Gargarin and Titov

America's first astronaut was Alan B. Shepard who flew aboard "Freedom 7" on May 5, 1961. Our first program of sending astronauts into space was the Mercury Program. He was followed by Gus Grissom on July 21, 1961 in "Liberty Bell 7"

The second cosmonaut to fly was Germain Titov who stayed in spacefor over 25 hours aboard Vostok II. He went up on August 6, 1961

Engineers were really excited about going into space.

The next generation of larger U.S. rockets that would hopefully carry man into space were the “Atlas” rockets. One was successfully launched in December, 1958, but the reliability of the rocket had yet to be proven. We were using our existing hardware to loft satellites into space. One of the reasons for this conservative approach was the lack of money devoted to space research. It is here that the public’s fascination with games, toys and space theme entertainment helped to prod the leaders of our country to devote more money and manpower to our racing for the stars. For the public, space travel seemed real and they were ready to go. They wanted to know why the United States was dragging its feet and lagging behind in the space program.

With the pride in America at an all time high, politicians knew that riding the coattails of this public support was good for votes. The only problem was that the Soviets seemed very much ahead of us. Our spirit of competition demanded that we come in first. After much discussion with his advisors, the President of the United States agreed that the only way that we could beat the Soviet Union in the space race was to go for the moon. The decision was made. President Kennedy announced in May of 1961 that we would put a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. With this announcement came the funding for the space program. Billions of dollars (back in the days when a billion dollars was a lot of money) would have to be committed. America was now truly in the space race.

America's first real hero spaceman was John Glenn. He was the first American to orbit the Earth aboard "Friendship 7" on February 20, 1962.

Toys were created for John Glenn's famous flight such as this Friendship 7 space capsule. The astronaut turned around as the toy moved across the floor. It is 10 inches long and made in Japan by Horikowa.

A group of larger (4 inch) John Glenn buttons. The one on the left is especially difficult to find.

The Soviet Union was very busy in 1962. They were the first to fly two missions at the same time with Vostok 3 and Vostok 4 on August 11th.

The souvenirs and toys produced during the space race are reminders of the joy of exploring the new frontier. "Welcome Back Astronaut" buttons were produced for many of the Mercury program space shots. The wearing of a button on your shirt or jacket showed that you cared about the men risking their lives to further our exploration of space. The Mercury 7 astronauts each took their turn on a mission (with the exception of Deke Slayton, due to a possible heart murmur) and were welcomed home as our new heros. As the Mercury program drew to a close, we prepared for the Gemini phase - two astronauts to a capsule.

This chart can be used to help date the different space items that may be found.

Name Date     Event     Country
Vostok 1



Vostok 2



Vostok 3

Vostok 4



Vostok 6

Ranger 7

Voskhod I

Mariner 4

Voskhod II

April 12, 1961

May 5, 1961

Jul.21, 1961

Aug. 6, 1961

 Feb. 20, 1962

May 24, 1962

Aug. 11, 1962

Aug. 12, 1962

October 3, 1962

May 15, 1963

Jun. 16, 1963

Jul. 28, 1964

Oct. 12, 1964

Nov. 28, 1964

Mar. 18, 1965

1st manned Orbital flight - Yuri Gagarin

1st U.S. manned flight - Alan Shepard 

2nd U.S. manned flight - Gus Grissom

2nd manned orbital flight - Gherman Titov 

1st  U.S. manned orbital flight - John Glenn

Manned orbital flight - Scott Carpenter

Two flights together - Nikolayev and below

Two flights together - Popovich and above

Manned orbital flight - Wally Schirra

Manned orbital flight - Gordon Cooper

1st woman in space - Valentina Tereshkova

1st rocket to moon

Three men in one capsule

1st close range phots of Mars on 7/14/65

1st space walk - Alexei Leonov

















More Space memorabilia - Page One

More Space memorabilia - Page Three

More Space memorabilia - Page Four

More Space memorabilia - Page Five

Space memorabilia For Sale - Page Six

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