Life sciences and space research
The space age presents man with unprecedented opportunities for discovery and for cooperative endeavors to benefit all mankind. My flight of August 6-7, 1961 was conducted for the purpose of determining whether man can stay and work effectively and whether all systems of the spaceship can operate successfully during a period of 24 hours in space. The flight of Vostok II represents an experimental step in a logical sequence which included the first earth orbiting flight of USSR citizen Yuri A. Gagarin. Preparation for the flight included the study of theoretical and applied subjects, testing in various kinds of apparatus which provide acceleration, heat and isolation experience, brief airborne weightless flights and parachute landings, in addition to extensive training in a real spacecraft having simulators for normal and emergency contingencies of space flight. The actual flight was therefore carried out with a sense of confidence and familiarity and with continuous close radio contact with ground centers from whom my fellow cosmonauts served as spokesmen. Sequential boosters totaling 600 000 kg thrust placed the 4731 kg spaceship into a perfect orbit varying in altitude from 178-246 km in a plane 64 degrees 58' inclined to the equator. The spaceship made 17 orbits around the earth landing 25 hours, 18 minutes after take-off. The cabin had full atmospheric pressure and a comfortable habitability which could be extended for 10 days. I was able to maneuver the spaceship and perform many other control functions, make observations and take pictures of the earth and its cloud cover, eat meals and sleep all with good efficiency. I experienced mild symptoms suggestive of seasickness which were aggravated by head turning, ameliorated by sleep and entirely relieved by resumption of g-loading during descent. Altogether analyses of the physical and structural performance of the spaceship and the continuously monitored physiological responses of the pilot indicate that all systems operated with high reliability and according to our scientific expectations.