The First Man in Space

Author & Director:
Martin Huebner | Juergen Ast

Commissioning Editor:
Dr. Katja Wildermuth


astfilm productions | for MDR

April 12th 1961. For the first time in history, a human being tries to conquer space. In his very small capsule on top of the rocket waits a 27year old Major of the Soviet Army for his historic take-off. Thousands of barrels of high explosive fuel beneath him. Just a moment later he launches in the "tin can" into space. The chance to survive such a mission is less than 50 percent: the flight to the stars - either a horrible death, or everlasting fame. The spectacular soviet mission is a top-secret operation, the world public has no idea. Only a small group of insiders are involved in the lasting and feverishly preparations for the launch. And also the name of the daredevil space pilot is unknown to the world, till this day - Yuri Gagarin.

Breakdowns, problems and tragedies are kept secret. Nikita Khrushchev is personally responsible for the selection of the Cosmonauts. Only two days prior to the launch, Gagarin is informed, that he is going to be the first man in space. Just two weeks earlier a friend of him was killed in a tragic way during a test on the ground. Now the son of a soviet farmer is going to make history. After almost two hours, with plenty of risks and dangers, Gagarin returns to earth. A historic triumph for the Soviet Union. Moscow welcomes Gagarin as "the Columbus of the 20th Century".

Gagarin becomes a real star, his smile and his casual behavior catches the hearts of the people all over the world, even in the West. But with the everlasting fame and glory the personal problems come along and actually he wants to fly again. His desire as a pilot, 1967 it ends in a tragedy. He and his copilot are killed in a Jet test-flight. The true circumstances that led to the fatal crash, they remain unknown till today.