New Delhi: Google marked 50 years of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's space flight on Tuesday with a cool doodle that celebrated the first sojourn of humans into outer space.
Fifty years ago, on April 12, Former Soviet fighter pilot Gagarin became the first man to have travelled in space, in a 108-minute flight, that almost ended in a disaster.
The doodle depicts spacecraft Vostok-1's take off from a graphic of the Earth against a sketch of Gagarin in spacesuit and as ever, the graphic spells out the Google logo.
For a dozen years, Google has been occasionally swapping its everyday logo for a doodle, a sketch celebrating holidays, inventions, artists and sporting events, and showcasing designs from contest-winning students.
The Soviet human spaceflight project, the Vostok Programme, was an ambitious effort to confirm Soviet leadership in space.
Although several launches had successfully carried animals into space, it wasn't known how a man would react to the weightlessness and isolation of a space flight.
Alexey Leonov, Yuri Gagarin's Friend has said, "It's like dressing a man in a suit and shoving him into a blast furnace, saying, 'fear not, the suit will protect you.' But nobody knows for sure if it will actually protect you or not."
Some believed weightlessness would turn men mad or squeeze their eyeballs into jelly. On April 12, 1961, Gagarin proved that pilots could normally operate spacecraft and communicate with mission control.
Vostok-1 Spacecraft Design Engineer Valeriy Lubinskiy said, "He didn't get to actually pilot the spacecraft, although he had all necessary controls to conduct a manual descent and landing, in case the automation would have been unusable".
Gagarin's flight made him famous all around the globe, opening the way for further manned missions, but it didn't change Gagarin's frank personality.
"I should say I even feel somewhat uncomfortable in front of my friends that my flight lasted only an hour and forty-eight minutes. But this, of course, was only the beginning, only the first scouting of space," Gagarin had said.
Gagarin died seven years later in a plane crash. He was only thirty-four years of age. He left behind a legacy of the pioneering spirit, discovery and friendship that has shaped human spaceflight ever since.