1. How did people first begin to dream about space travel? Tell any story or legend.
2. What Russian word in the text has become known internationally? Do you know any other Russian words that are known internationally? What are they?
3. What are the achievements of Russia in space research?
4. What facts from the text have impressed you?
We do not know when men began to dream of travelling in space. The first story that we know about a space flight was written in the year 150. The author described how, during a great storm, a big wave raised a ship up to the Moon, and the men on the ship found themselves in a new world.
In the sixteenth century, Galileo made the first telescope and looked through it at the Moon and the planets. Now nobody could say for certain that the Earth was the only world, and many new space-travel stories appeared.
In 1865 Jules Verne's famous novel "From the Earth to the Moon" was published. In his story, he sends his heroes into space by means of a huge gun. Another space-travel story is "The First Men in the Moon" by H. G. Wells. Wells' heroes have a wonderful substance that helps their spaceship to fly away to the Moon.
But the dream of travelling into space became true only in the 20th century. It happened in November 1957. The first animal in space was Laika, a dog from Russia, l.aika travelled around the Earth for 7 days in the satellite Sputnik 2. Then in 1961. all people on the Earth learned about the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin. He circled the Earth in V'ostok spaceship. Since that time the 12th of April has been celebrated in Russia as Space Day.
Sputnik is one of the Russian words which became internationally known.
In more than 50 years since Yuri Gagarin's flight Russian space science has come a long way. Over 2,000 spaceships have been launched since the space era began.
Russia leads in many areas of space researches. The most important achievements include work on orbital stations. The longest expedition lasted more than 430 days. More than seventy Russian spacemen have worked in orbit, many of them more than once. All of them say how beautiful our blue planet is, how small and fragile it is.