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Man-In-Space Firsts:
The Media Circus

First to sell themselves to the press: The original Mercury 7 astronauts and their wives became media stars after they signed a deal giving Life exclusive rights to their stories. The magazine published a series of cover stories about their lives.

First TV commentator from space: During the five years after cosmonaut Vitali Sevastyanov flew a record 18 days in space in June 1970, he became a popular TV commentator on the USSR program "Man, Earth and Universe." Then, in May 1975 he returned to space on a flight to the Salyut 4 space station to set a new record of 63 days in space.

First press conference from space: Astronauts Thomas P. Stafford, Vance D. Brand and Donald K. "Deke" Slayton and cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Valeri Kubasov held a news conference from space during the Apollo-Soyuz linkup in 1975.

First journalist in space: Japan's "cosmoreporter" Toyohiro Akiyama, once Washington bureau chief for Tokyo Broadcasting System, flew to the USSR's Mir station in December 1990.

Biggest outcry from the press: The USSR rushed newspaper and TV reporters to space boot camp in 1990 to prepare for a trip to Mir after the Soviet journalists griped about their country sending a Japanese journalist to space first.

Gaudiest advertising in space: Japanese ads for Unicharm women's hygiene products, Sony electronic products and Ohtsuka Chemicals, painted on the 150-ft. launch rocket carrying men to space in December 1990, brought the Soviets some hard currency.

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