Tag Archives: Yuri Gagarin

The First Man Ever In Space, Yuri Gagarin, Was Born This Day In 1934.

by Anura Guruge



I got to meet him when he visited Ceylon
(now Sri Lanka) in 1961.

I was 7 years old. But, of course, knew who he was.

I got to shake his hand.

To this day, I consider this one of the highlights of my rather uneventful life.


Wikipedia entry. Click to ENLARGE and read here. Link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Gagarin


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by Anura Guruge

Valentina Tereshkova, This Day, 54-Years Ago, Became The First Woman & Civilian To Fly In Space.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE and read here. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentina_Tereshkova


The early milestones of the ‘manned’ space race. Click to ENLARGE.


I was 9-years old at the time and totally captivated and fascinated by space and the space race. Those were exciting days to be a kid. I followed all the news. We didn’t have TV in Ceylon at the time so it was all through newspaper, radio and Pathe News.

I remember learning about Valentina Tereshkova flight. Wow. A woman in space. It was pretty exciting. I also remember reading that she suffered mental illness as a result of this flight! That proved to be false. But, an indication as to how some people wanted to mar her achievement.

Unlike Yuri Gagarin who I was lucky enough to meet, Valentina Tereshkova is still alive today — 80-years old.

Valentina Tereshkova one of the eight distinguished Olympic flag bearers at the Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in 2014.


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by Anura Guruge

Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s First Prime Minister, Died This Day 53-Years Ago; May 27, 1964.

by Anura Guruge


23 October 1962, in Ceylon, with ‘Aunty’ Bandaranaike, the world’s FIRST ever elected Head of State. [Yes, I knew her, well, and, yes, I did call her ‘Aunty’.] Quite the picture. Next to ‘Aunty’ B., on the right in Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi who would also go on to be a Prime Minister. The young man, I am sure, is my namesake Anura B. — while the two young ladies are Mrs. B’s daughters — and one of them would go onto be President. QUITE THE PICTURE.


Click to ENLARGE and read here. Wikipedia link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jawaharlal_Nehru



He was quite the man. So pivotal a figure.

I got to meet him, in October 1962. See picture above. He came to our house for dinner! Kid you not. Yes, my adoptive father was a VIP and a ‘big shot’ in the Government. I think he (my adoptive father), as one of Mrs. Bandaranaike’s most trusted collaborators, might have been in charge of organizing that visit.

I still remember it in my mind’s eye. He was late coming. The house was packed with guests. There was an excited hum of anticipation.

He was tall, v. tall. I was 9 years old, so not that tall. He HAD PRESENCE. He glowed white! Yes, he, per his trademark, was dressed head-to-toe in brilliant, white. He bent down to shake my hand. He autographed a brand new autograph book (that had been made for me, for the occasion, by my adoptive father’s brother, Edward, a very talented bookbinder). I still have it.

OK, I will confess. Meeting and shaking Yuri Gagarin’s hand, also in Ceylon, thanks to my adoptive father, was a bigger thrill. BUT, Nehru, I still recall had this ethereal presence.

Wow. I never realized he died so soon afterwards.

What a legacy. What a man. My type of guy. {SMILE}


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by Anura Guruge

This Day, 56-Years Ago, Yuri Gagarin Became The First Human EVER To Enter Space (And Orbit The Earth To Boot)!

by Anura Guruge





I got to meet him when he visited Ceylon
(now Sri Lanka) in 1961.

I was 7 years old. But, of course, knew who he was.

I got to shake his hand.

To this day, I consider this one of the highlights of my rather uneventful life.


Yes, we commemorated his birthday which was on March 9 (1934).

So he went to space 34-days after his 27th birthday.

He died, tragically, when he was 34.


Wikipedia entry. Click to ENLARGE and read here. Link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Gagarin


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by Anura Guruge

Yuri Gagarin, The First Man Ever In Space, Was Born Today, 83-Years Ago — March 9, 1934.

by Anura Guruge



I got to meet him when he visited Ceylon
(now Sri Lanka) in 1961.

I was 7 years old. But, of course, knew who he was.

I got to shake his hand.

To this day, I consider this one of the highlights of my rather uneventful life.


Wikipedia entry. Click to ENLARGE and read here. Link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Gagarin


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by Anura Guruge

‘Hidden Figures’ — The Movie: Incredibly Uplifting, Still SO Topical That All Americans Should Watch It.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.

hidden-figures-750x315_orig


Click image to access the IMDb.com listing.

hiddenfigures


This was indeed quite the movie. Extremely uplifting and inspiring. A GREAT MOVIE for toady. Shows you that there is still HOPE.

Saw it at the Concord (NH) ‘Regal 10‘. Had seen the trailer for it a few weeks back when we went to see ‘SING‘.

So glad that we went to see it.

Quite a few personal touches for I. Yes, there was a lot of IBM (including punched cards) that was from my era and which I could relate to THOUGH I think they portrayed IBM poorly and unfairly. IBM, in those days, even more than now, were ultra diligent about new system installations. There would have been site surveys on top of site surveys. No they would never be hampered by a door that was too small to permit the computer to be wheeled in. And then they had FORTRAN.

I knew two mathematicians who worked for NASA for the Apollo program — both were men, though one was black. He (the black one), who taught me physics in Paris 1968 – 1969, was the one that got me into computers! And they showed Yuri Gagarin — and I was very fortunate to have met him, in 1961, when he visited Ceylon. I was 7-years old.

Great movie. I wish all Americans could see it. It should be shown in schools.

I am so glad I got to see it. I will watch it again when it is available online.


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>> Fantastic Beasts.

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by Anura Guruge


Sri Lanka Got 0.02% Of The $35 Billion U.S. Spent On Foreign Aid! Yes, Just $6.9 M.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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by Anura Guruge


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I saw this map on ‘marketwatch.com’ on Friday. Of course I checked to see how Sri Lanka was doing. I was pretty amazed BUT not that surprised.

Sri Lanka has never figured much in U.S. politics or aid. Some of it goes back decades, even to the 1950s, when Ceylon (as it was then), was a leading light in the so called ‘Non-Aligned Nations’. Well, the U.S. never liked that. It was, in those days of the Cold War, “if you are NOT with us, then you must be AGAINST us”. They never appreciated “Non-Aligned”. To be fair Ceylon/Sri Lanka did get a lot of USSR and Chinese aid. The ‘Russians’ sent n to Ceylon in 1961 — which is how I got to shake his hand! I do not think the Americans sent Alan Shepard or John Glenn to Ceylon.

Yes, it cuts both ways. It is very much a ‘you scratch my back, I will scratch yours’ when it comes to the U.S. and foreign aid. I know some of this first hand in that my adoptive father was the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the U.S., in D.C., from 1992 and 1994. U.S. Congressmen would approach him will all sorts of requests on the understanding that in return they will help Sri Lanka get more aid. That is all part of the diplomatic culture. Yes, he had his K-street accounts to entertain whoever warranted entertaining. One Congressman asked him, point blank, whether ‘he’ (meaning Sri Lanka) would pay the rent, for ‘x’ number of years, for the Congressman’s mistress in D.C. My adoptive father could not oblige. This was during the Civil War and Sri Lanka didn’t have that kind of money.

Anywho, here is the map. You can do the maths.


slaid2015

Click to ENLARGE and read here. Use link below to access original.


Click here
to access original at ‘howmuch.net’.


Sally Ride, Presidential Medal of Freedom: CNN Butchers History! She Was NOT 1st Woman In Space. Not EVEN Close.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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.by Anura Guruge


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Click to access YouTube video where you can CLEARLY hear Jake Tapper of CNN say: 'Sally Ride -- first woman in space'.

Click to access YouTube video where you can CLEARLY hear Jake Tapper of CNN say: ‘Sally Ride — first woman in space’.


I could NOT believe my years.

As is my wont, I was listening to the TV while doing my ablutions — in this case putting in my contacts. I was sure I had misheard it.

So, I went up to the TV and since it is connected to a DVR rewound it.

Listened to it. Thought I again misheard. Replayed it.

I was shocked.

Valentina Tereshkova beat her by a FULL 20 years!

Well I do know my early space history — because as a barefoot, scrawny kid in shorts, growing up in Ceylon I was totally captivated by the space race. Though I was 9  and she was 26, I had a crush on her!

Here is the list from Wikipedia

Click to ENLARGE. Go to Wikipedia and bang in 'female astronauts' for the list.

Click to ENLARGE. Go to Wikipedia and bang in ‘female astronauts’ for the list.


Just for the record

Click to ENLARGE. Again from Wikipedia. Just bang in " spaceflight records".

Click to ENLARGE. Again from Wikipedia. Just bang in ” spaceflight records”.


The dedication in my
Comets: 101 Facts & Trivia book.

yuridedication

Three Chinese In Space Right Now, In A Chinese Space Station. Did YOU Know That?

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


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As somebody who grew up with Sputnik, actually met, and shook hands with Yuri Gagarin, and write about astronomy I have always known about Russia’s, Europe’s and Japan’s exploits in space. And yes, of course, I knew China had an ambitious space program too.

But, despite being a news junkie and following news about space on a daily basis, I had no idea that China has their own Space Station, not that dissimilar to the ISS, and that, right now, they have three Chinese ‘taikonauts’ on board. Not sure why but I kind of feel strange that their are 3 Chinese up there looking down on me.

I heard about this when I got this story in my e-mail from Spaceweather.com — who sends me e-mail updates. Stopped me in my tracks. I went scurrying around to check. Wow. Wow. Wow.

I, like so many others, are resigned to the fact that China will become an even greater Superpower. This sure is a major step for the Chinese towards that goal.

Wow, ‘taikonauts’ looking down at me. 

Just think of the possibilities. Maybe I could hold up a big sign that says: ‘2 #5, 1 #7, 1 #6, 1 #48 and extra helping of hot mustard‘. 


Click to access 'spaceweather.com'

Click to access ‘spaceweather.com’





Yuri Gagarin, in 1961, in Colombo, Ceylon, with a very youthful looking Aunty Bandaranaike, the 1st Female Prime Minister ever. I would have been 8. This was the time when my first conversation for the day, nearly every day, would be with Aunty Bandaranaike, albeit on the phone. This from a 2011 article in the Sri Lankan ‘Daily News’ to commemorate this historic visit. That was when I met him and shook hands. Click for ‘Daily News’ article.