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Date of issue: 12 April 2011 Magyar Posta has released a commemorative stamp block to mark the 50th anniversary of the space flight on 12 April 1961, when man first travelled into space. Space research is the branch of science dealing with research outside the earth’s atmosphere using instruments in space. In a broader sense space science is also the science of exploring the use of space. The space age began in 1957 when the earth’s first artificial satellite Sputnik 1 was launched. Since then many satellites, probes, spaceships, space stations and other space instruments have been put into space. The other two major events in space research were the first manned space flight (Vostok 1 in 1961) and the moon landing (Apollo 11 in 1969). Space activity is shared between manned and unmanned spacecraft. Unmanned space devices are used for exploration and programmed operations, while manned spaceships and stations perform more complex missions. Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (Klushino, 9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968) trained as a foundry worker, and then studied at the Technical College in Saratov.  During the years he spent there he joined the Aero Club and obtained a pilot’s licence for light aircraft in 1955. In the same year he was accepted for military training at the pilot’s school in Orenburg, and gained his pilot’s wings in a MiG-15 in 1957. He was then posted to the Luostar air base. In 1960 he was one of twenty pilots to be chosen for the Soviet space programme. After the tough training, Gagarin and Gherman Titov were selected for space flight because of their excellent performance and small physical build. On 12 April 1961 Gagarin became the first man to travel into space on board Vostok 1. The entire flight lasted 108 minutes and orbited the earth once. During the flight he was promoted from lieutenant to major. On his return to earth he was welcomed by Nikita Khrushchev. In 1962 he served as a deputy in the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. Later he returned to Star City, where he worked on designs for reusable spacecraft. In 1967 he began flying fighters again. He, together with his trainer, died on 27 March 1968 during a routine test flight in his MiG-15. (Source: A graphic composition recalling the atmosphere of a contemporary newspaper carrying the news of the space flight is used to mark the fiftieth anniversary on the numbered commemorative block. In the stamp design and the surrounding frame there are articles relating events fifty years ago, written by the physicist and astronomer Dr Előd Both, head of the Hungarian Space Agency. On the block’s stamp a picture of Vostok 1 and the article entitled ‘The first man in space’ can be seen. In the border there is a portrait of Yuri Gagarin next to one of the newspaper articles. The elements of the graphic design on the first day cover include a structural diagram of Vostok 1, the number referring to the anniversary, the earth and Gagarin’s signature. The design of the commemorative postmark employs an inscription capturing the anniversary. 50th Anniversary stamps for first manned Spaceflight U.S.A. Issue Date 04/05/2011 The 50th anniversary of America’s first manned spaceflight is being commemorated with the issuance of two stamps. One stamp salutes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Project Mercury, America’s first manned spaceflight program, and NASA astronaut Alan Shepard’s historic flight on May 5, 1961, aboard the spacecraft Freedom 7. The other stamp draws attention to NASA’s unmanned MESSENGER mission, a scientific investigation of the planet Mercury. On March 18, 2011, MESSENGER will become the first spacecraft to enter into orbit around Mercury. These two historic missions—Shepard’s Mercury flight and MESSENGER’s orbit of Mercury—frame a remarkable fifty-year period in which America has advanced space exploration through more than 1,500 manned and unmanned flights. The Project Mercury and MESSENGER Mission stamps were designed by Donato Giancola of Brooklyn, NY, under the direction of Phil Jordan of Falls Church, VA. A three-time winner of the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist, Giancola is known for his cover illustrations for science fiction authors, including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Phillip K. Dick, and Arthur C. Clarke. His luminous works for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have received recognition through more than a dozen awards. Giancola based the stamp designs on NASA photographs and images. The Project Mercury stamp depicts Shepard, the Mercury capsule Freedom 7, and the Redstone launching rocket. The MESSENGER Mission stamp depicts the MESSENGER spacecraft in orbit around the planet Mercury.
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