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50 gun salute to mark golden jubilee of human space flight

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Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first man to reach outer space.

MOSCOW (PTI): Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a 50 gun salute to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the maiden human space flight of the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on April 12.

The Defence Ministry has been ordered to arrange for 50 gun salute with fireworks shells at 2200 hours (local time) on Tuesday, a Kremlin release said.

The UN General Assembly last Thursday adopted a resolution initiated by Russia declaring April 12 "International Day of Human Space Flight".

On April 12, 1961, the Vostok spacecraft took the first ever human being, Soviet cosmonaut Gagarin, into space.

Gagarin's spaceship made a single orbit of the earth as the experts were not willing to take a chance due to the fact that in earlier flights by dogs the problems were registered after third-fourth orbit, Rossiya 24 channel reported in its Cosmonautics programme devoted to the golden jubilee of the first human space flight.

Last week Russia declassified documents that shed light on Gagarin's death in a test flight onboard a new MiG-15 fighter jet in 1968.

Kremlin's archives official Alexander Stepanov told a news conference last Friday that a Soviet-era commission had concluded that a sharp manoeuvre to avoid a weather balloon was the cause of crash of Gagarin's jet.

Gagarin died on March 27, 1968, when a MiG fighter jet carrying him and instructor Vladimir Seryogin crashed in the Vladimir region near Moscow while on a training flight.

"The conclusions of the commission are that the most likely cause of the accident was a sharp manoeuvre to avoid a sounding balloon," he said.

This could have resulted in stalling of the jet and its uncontrolled nosedive, the "Top Secret" report signed by Leonid Brezhnev, declassified ahead of the 50th anniversary of Gagarin's maiden space flight suggests.

The commission writes that manoeuvres by Gagarin or Seryogin led the jet into a "supercritical flight regime and to its stalling in complex meteorological conditions."

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