April 12 in Russian history

1861: The "Decree of foundation of the Alexander's hospital for the working people in St. Petersburg in memory of February 19, 1861" is issued.

1881: The emperor Alexander III proclaims freedom for all citizens to enter and leave Russia. This freedom was taken away again by bolsheviks and was restored again only in 1993 due to the efforts of president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev and Anatoly Sobchak, member of Duma and mayor of St. Petersburg. Now, some political groups, proponents of political isolation of Russia, demand to limit this freedom again.

1911: The first Russian aeronatical congress begins in St.Petersburg. It was organized by the VII (Aeronatical) department of the Imperial Russian Technical Society. Among the participants were the navy minister vice-admiral Grigorovich, admiral Rykachev, general-major Korsakevich, other navy officers, state and local self-government officials, members of technical and sports societies and clubs. At the same time, the aeronatical exhibition was taking place. The newspaper "Moskovskie Vedomosti" wrote: "Due to the extreme importance of aeronatics in general and especially for Russia, the aeronatical congress deserves the most serious attention." During the congress, the participants discussed certain models of aeroplanes and engines, promising technologies, technical solutions, importance of aeronatics for the Russian army and navy, organizational problems. The police, as usual, had their own opinion. They welcomed the development of the aviation and its use in the military, but they were also worried by possible use of aeroplanes in criminal and political purposes. They proposed to put aeroplanes and their pilots under surveillance and introduce registration of all pilots. In February, 1911, the police ordered the governors and mayors of the cities to close the aeronatical clubs if their aeroplanes were used by political activists to spread leaflets. In summer, 1910, the police refused to register the "Students' Aeroleague of St.Petersburg", saying that "the low membership fee may lead to the formation of a union of all students in St.Petersburg."

1961: At 9:07 a.m. (6:07 a.m. UTC), spacecraft Vostok was launched to space by carrier Vostok-K. This was the first manned space mission in history. Yuri Gagarin made one orbit around the Earth and safely landed at 10:55 a.m. (7:55 a.m. UTC). The USSR became the world leader in manned space flights. The advantage of the USSR was so huge that Russia still retains this leading position. Huge experience in long-term space missions, space medicine, construction and support of orbital stations, including cargo ships, simple and effective solutions allowed Russia to support the ISS during the years when the American space shuttles were grounded due to the tragedy with Columbia. By the way, recently some new articles describing Gagarin's flight were published. One such article from the magazine "News of Cosmonautics", "Truth about Gagarin's return" (in Russian), pedantically lists the problems taking place during the flight. During the backfire impulse, a valve did not close. The leakage caused unplanned loss of fuel. The lack of fuel made the engine to stop about 0.5 seconds earlier than it was planned and the spacecraft was flying with the speed of 132 m/sec instead of 136 m/sec. Because the engine was down, the control system failed to issue the shutdown command and the armature of the backfire engine did not fold as it should. This led to the rotation of the spacecraft with the speed of 30° per second and the landing module did not separate from the spacecraft. And yet, multiple reduplication of control systems and sensors provided alternative ways to initiate the separation. The heat sensors triggered the alternative separation procedure and the landing was normal. B. Raushenbach, a member of Russian Academy of Sciences, said once: "If cars were made with the same level of reliability as our satellites are made, they would have wheels from all sides and any spatial position of the car would be regarded as normal."

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