By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (April 12, 2022) – In Issue 2022-070 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, we celebrate the first full orbiting of the earth.


The first person to orbit the earth in space was Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961.  His journey lasted 1 hour 48 minutes in the Vostok 1 capsule.

The first American in space followed soon after – on May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard rocketed towards the sky and into space in a Mercury capsule named Freedom 7.

The space race started with the launch of Sputnik in 1957.  The early firsts tended to go in favor of the Soviet Union, and over time the US took over the lead with the first moon orbits and moon landing in 1969.

It is rather amazing that the time span between the first man in space to men landing on the moon is a mere eight years.  

Here is Homann’s double-hemisphere map of the earth from 1753.


Double Hemisphere World Map of Earth – 1753 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.