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Like the chimpanzees and the Moscow street mutts that went into space before them, Gagarin and other early spacemen were in part an experimental payload. There was a great deal of concern, at both the Soviet space agency and at NASA, about the unknown physiological and psychological consequences of space and zero gravity. Would breaching the infinite blow the crewman’s mind? Would weightlessness cause his eyeballs to change shape, his blood to stop circulating? Gagarin went up to find out.
Strangely, the first man to ascend into the cosmos was a skilled pilot forbidden to use his skills. The controls of Vostok I were locked; the capsule was maneuvered entirely from the ground. As Gagarin himself put it, “I’m not sure if I was the first man in space or the last dog.”


отсюда.
а вот еще статья, тоже из The New York Times.

(на всякий случай уточню, что после заголовка постинга стоит невидимый смайл)
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