More than forty five years after the Evil Empire made Yuri Gagarin a hero of the Soviet Union, Pravda reports that Gagarin was not the first man in space, he was just the first man to survive a flight into space:
Gagarin was not the first man to fly to space. Three Soviet pilots died in attempts to conquer space before Gagarin's famous space flight, Mikhail Rudenko, senior engineer-experimenter with Experimental Design Office 456 (located in Khimki, in the Moscow region) said on Thursday. According to Rudenko, spacecraft with pilots Ledovskikh, Shaborin and Mitkov at the controls were launched from the Kapustin Yar cosmodrome (in the Astrakhan region) in 1957, 1958 and 1959. "All three pilots died during the flights, and their names were never officially published," Rudenko said.If this is true, and it has to be because it is from Pravda, it should in no way diminish the significance of the Gargarin's successful flight. If Gagarin knew of the deadly attempts by Ledovskikh, Shaborin and Mitkov, we should be even more impressed with Gagarin's courage.
Thanks to Glen for the tip.