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“The past should be remembered. You can, and should, be proud of it,” cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin told an interviewer last year. “But you cannot live on it.” Russia’s once-pioneering space industry should take note.

Sixty years ago this month, with a rallying cry of “Poekhali!” (roughly, “Let’s go!”) and a 108-minute flight, Yuri Gagarin became the first man in orbit, providing a grinning snap for the front pages and an unparalleled public relations win for the Soviet Union.

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