YouTube is celebrating 50 years of human spaceflight with the premiere of an hour-and-a-half long video, First Orbit, that recreates, in real-time, Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin's first 108-minute long orbit of Earth in 1961.
First Orbit's creators worked with the International Space Station to obtain footage that presents "a new view of what Yuri would have seen as he travelled around the planet."
"Weaving these new views together with historic voice recordings from Yuri's flight and an original score by composer Philip Sheppard, we have created a spellbinding film to share with people around the World on this historic anniversary," The Attic Room explains on its website.
The video begins with Gagarin's launch and the astronaut's reflections as he is about to take off--"All I have done and lived for has been lived for for this moment"--then takes viewers on a breathtaking tour through orbit.
First Orbit not only honors a milestone in human spaceflight, but the film itself marks a significant change in YouTube's content strategy.
Until now YouTube has offered a growing repository consisting mostly of short video clips uploaded by users--both professionals and amateurs--from around the world. This formula is being radically revamped as Google plans to pour millions into developing original content and First Orbit, the length of a feature film, marks YouTube's effort to feature longer, higher-quality video content on its website.