Moscow: A new book has claimed that Soviet officials had lied about the success of Yuri Gagarin's historic 1961 flight into space, and covered up the fact that he had landed over 200 miles away from the expected location.
The Soviet Union had used his mission, the first manned flight into space, as a major Cold War propaganda coup by projecting it as a victory of the Communist ideology, The Telegraph reports.
The new book, however, has revealed that scientists had twice miscalculated the exact location where he would land, and in this confusion nobody was present when Gagarin finally touched down some 500 miles south of Moscow.
"For many years Soviet literature claimed that Yuri Gagarin and his Vostok landing capsule had come down in the area it was supposed to. But this information was far from the truth," the book titled ‘108 Minutes That Changed the World’ said, adding that Soviet space planners had been expecting him to land almost 250 miles further to the south.
"So it turned out that nobody was waiting or looking for Yuri Gagarin. Therefore the first thing he had to do after landing was set off to look for people and communications so he could tell the leadership where he was," it added.
The book, which was released on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of Gagarin's famous flight, also alleged that the Soviets had lied about the manner of his landing by claiming that he had touched down inside the capsule, but in reality, he had landed with the help of a parachute.
They lied to get the mission registered as a world record, the book by the Russian journalist Anton Pervushin, claimed.
First Published: Thursday, March 31, 2011, 18:47