The Expedition 56/57 involving a three-person crew took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome which is located in Kazakhstan on the early morning of June 6. While they were approaching the rocket, the team or at least to mention, the Russian cosmonaut, Sergey Prokopyev made an odd move. The move is believed to have taken place in the past as well. The bus that takes the crewmembers would stop; the male cosmonauts would come down from the bus and pee on the back right tire of their van. As far as the female crewmembers are concerned, they would splash urine from a cup onto the wheel of the bus.

If we delve into the history, we will get the answer of such a move. The cosmonauts try to pay tribute to the foremost human in space known as Yuri Gagarin. The cosmonaut who was about to take off from the same cosmodrome on April 12, 1961, went for the rocket for the scheduled takeoff and the rest was history.

Several others also pay tribute to Gagarin before the launching activities begin. They also pay a visit to the cosmonaut’s grave which is situated in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis in the city of Moscow. After arriving in Baikonur, they generally plant a tree in the same grove where Gagarin had planted his tree. They also pay a visit to his office which has been preserved since his death in the year of 1968.

The achievement of Gagarin is a benchmark in itself as far as Russian space history is concerned. His accomplishments and his commitments exhibit more of mythological vibes than it speaks of biographical facts. It is a big question to understand that is it possible for us to think in the same line for any popular American Astronaut, even Neil Armstrong, the first person who walked on the moon? 

Andrew Jenks who is a history professor at the California State University feels that there cannot be any comparison between Gagarin and any other American astronauts till now. Gagarin was a national hero, and he was a cosmonaut who could not stop smiling.

Jenks further added that unlike American astronauts, Russian space heroes had made a much wider sociological and political impact on the lives of the ordinary people. As such it is complicated to make a comparison between them.