Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fallen Idol:the Yuri Gagarin Conspiracy

Convincing documentary posits that Gagarin was not the first man into space and he was in fact the second, a replacement for Vladimir Ilyushinwho had flown four days earlier but met with technical problems that had him crashing in China. The film also reveals the true story of what happened to Gagarin after he landed and was thrust into the spotlight.

Well presented tale, and one that I can't find any holes in, is really the story of the Soviet Union and it's need to present a picture perfect portrait of its achievements. Its a sad tale of heroes lost (the real first man in space has gotten no credit), of lives thrown away (a friend of Gargarin went up in spaceship he knew was doomed because his superiors insisted they knew best) and murder (Gagarin may have been murdered.) It's a story of hubris and group think and a prime example of how things went so wrong in one of the world's great super powers.

For me, a life long space nut this film is like manna from heaven. Here was a look into what was going on in the other side of the space race. Growing up, and even today there have been stories about what was really going on in USSR, though little was ever documented until now. There was the story about the rocket accident that killed hundreds when a rocket on the launch pad dropped its fuel on the crowd gathered below (it incinerating them all instantly), or the story of a secret military space shot gone wrong where the cosmonaut ended up trapped in orbit unable to ever come home. I had always hear stories, now here was some real proof to back up some of them.

Here the whole second man in space story is carefully laid out and revealed via news reports from the Soviet Union which shifted hour by hour, offcial histories that were changed and now that the Iron Curtain has fallen eye witness accounts. The sad thing is that the heroics of Gagarins' flight and later life actually is a tissue behind which greater heroics are hidden. The real heroes are not the ones front and center, but the ones that were hidden behind Gagarin. Its great that the real heroes at last can be named.

This is a great story that needs to be seen.

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