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Racing to the Moon

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The Vostok and Voskhod missions of 1961-1965 continued the series of Soviet firsts in space. In six missions from 1961 through 1963, a Vostok ("East") spacecraft carried a cosmonaut into Earth orbit in successively longer flights.

The Vostok spacecraft then was modified to hold two or three cosmonauts and renamed Voskhod ("Sunrise"). Three cosmonauts orbited aboard Voskhod 1 for a day in October 1964, five months before the first U.S. two-man Gemini mission. In March 1965, Voskhod 2 achieved another space spectacular, the first spacewalk, when cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov ventured outside his orbiting spacecraft.


 1961 First man in space, Yuri Gagarin's one-orbit flight (Vostok 1)

 1961 First full day in orbit, Gherman Titov (Vostok 2)

 1962 First two-spacecraft mission (Vostoks 3 and 4)

 1963 First long-duration mission, five days in orbit (Vostok 5)

 1963 First woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova (Vostok 6)

Courtesy of Art Dula

Vostok spacecraft
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This photograph was made from motion picture footage of cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova during her 1963 flight on Vostok 6.

Courtesy of Emmet, Toni, and Tessa Stephenson

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As a reward for redesigning the Vostok capsule to accommodate more than one cosmonaut, Soviet spacecraft designer Konstantin Feoktistov was selected to join the crew of the 1964 Voskhod mission.

Courtesy of RSC Energia

Feoktistov as Voskhod crew member or official portrait
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