Saluting Yuri Gagarin’s First Trip Into Spacce

Today marks the 50th anniversary of cosmonaut Yari Gagarin’s first trip into space. The Google Doodle honoring the achievement is a nifty work, featuring Soviet-era typography, muted colors and a rocket blasting away into space.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. YouTube got in on the celebration with the premiere of an hour-and-a-half long video, First Orbit, that recreates, in real-time, the Russian cosmonaut’s first 108-minute long orbit of Earth in 1961.

“Weaving these new views together with historic voice recordings from Yuri’s flight and an original score by composer Philip Sheppard, we have created a spellbinding film to share with people around the World on this historic anniversary,” First Orbit’s creators said on their website.

Not to be outdone, U.S. astronaut Cady Coleman teamed up with Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson for a little flute duet. Coleman was up in outer space and Anderson was unfortunately down on Earth on tour in Russia — which makes it much more apropos. The duo played “an extract from Bourree, which Jethro Tull played while on a US tour during 1969, as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the Moon.”

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