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Soviet Press Notes Cooper Flight, Emphasizes Birmingham Crisis

May 17, 1963 - The Soviet press today provided for Soviet readers brief but largely factual accounts of Major Gordon Cooper’s orbital spaceflight. There was also considerable praise for his courage and an acknowledgement that his flight represented a major achievement in space exploration. Izvestia, the Soviet Government newspaper, front-paged Premier Khrushchev’s telegram of congratulations to President Kennedy. It said: “Esteemed Mr. President, please accept our cordial congratulations on the occasion of the successful flight of astronaut Gordon Cooper on board the spacecraft Faith 7, who made a new contribution to the exploration of the expanses of the universe. The Soviet people send their congratulations and best wishes to the courageous American astronaut Gordon Cooper.” In its commentary on the flight, Izvestia recalled that Soviet astronauts had orbited the earth a total of 130 times compared with a total of 34 by Americans. However, it added that the Cooper flight had been “an important national achievement in the study of the cosmos.” The newspaper devoted more space to the recent “rampage of racism” in Birmingham, Ala., than to the Cooper flight.


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