Rather, a retrospective look at some of the history of space travel which is less known in the mainstream.
First of all Gagarin was NOT the first man in space
See http://english.pravda.ru/accidents/2001/04/12/3502.html for information:
As 40 years have passed since Gagarin's flight, new sensational details of this event were disclosed: Gagarin was not the first man to fly to space.
Three Soviet pilots died in attempts to conquer space before Gagarin's famous space flight, Mikhail Rudenko, senior engineer-experimenter with Experimental Design Office 456 (located in Khimki, in the Moscow region) said on Thursday.
According to Rudenko, spacecraft with pilots Ledovskikh, Shaborin and Mitkov at the controls were launched from the Kapustin Yar cosmodrome (in the Astrakhan region) in 1957, 1958 and 1959.
"All three pilots died during the flights, and their names were never officially published," Rudenko said.
He explained that all these pilots took part in so-called sub- orbital flights, i.e., their goal was not to orbit around the earth, which Gagarin later did, but make a parabola-shaped flight.
"The cosmonauts were to reach space heights in the highest point of such an orbit and then return to the Earth," Rudenko said.
According to his information, Ledovskikh, Shaborin and Mitkov were regular test pilots, who had not had any special training, Interfax reports.
"Obviously, after such a serious of tragic launches, the project managers decided to cardinally change the program and approach the training of cosmonauts much more seriously in order to create a cosmonaut detachment," Rudenko said.
Next, Apollo 8 was not the first to send life to the moon and bring it back
A timeline alongside a report in today's paper tells us about Zond 5. In 1968, everybody wanted to be an astronaut and pored over every piece of news, but this was completely new to me when I heard it today. Also new to another obsessive from the same era.
Sept 18, 1968: Soviet Zond 5, carrying turtles, wine flies, meal worms, plants, seeds and bacteria, orbits the moon; first lunar craft successfully to return, splashing down in the Indian Ocean.
Of course, the biggest question of all is: Did we go to the moon? Those of you who have an hour and a half to spare ana a Real Video connection should zip along to http://www.thule.org/moon.html
Or if you want to know that we have already visited Mars, and have an hour to spare, visit http://www.thule.org/alt3.html
Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with the Thule Foundation and do not wish to imply any support of their core views. However, they do have the only online copies of these two programmes.