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Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 07:30 | SYDNEY
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Tuesday linkage: Gagarin, coal, vertical farms, Pol Pot, Freakonomics and more

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30 October 2012 15:31

Gagarin’s Vostok capsule used a parachute to land on the ground, but its Soviet designers were not convinced they could bring the capsule down gently enough for the cosmonaut to survive. They were probably right. An eyewitness who happened to see Vostok land is reported to have said, “It fell, then it bounced and then it fell again. There was a huge hole where it hit the first time.” Instead the designers arranged for Gagarin to eject from the reentering capsule at an altitude of 7 km (4.4 miles or 23,000 ft) above the Earth and parachute down to the ground. But, concerned that this flight would not be recognized as a complete flight if the cosmonaut did not land in the capsule, the Soviets kept this fact secret for a decade.

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