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The Weekly Authority: ♠️ An Ace up OnePlus' sleeve

All the week's top tech news in a five-minute read or less, from the OnePlus Ace launch date to the Vivo X Fold.
By
April 16, 2022

⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 190th edition here, with the OnePlus Ace launch date, the Vivo X Fold, and a space conspiracy theory…

🐣 Happy Easter to those who are celebrating this weekend! 👻 We’re marking the occasion by attending Grimmfest’s virtual horror festival on Saturday — I can’t wait.

Popular news this week

OnePlus:

Samsung:

Google:

Vivo:

  • The Vivo X Fold is the latest foldable, copying the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s design, with a water-drop hinge design, outer 6.53-inch FHD+ 120Hz OLED panel, inner 8.03-inch 120Hz LTPO OLED panel, two fingerprint sensors, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, an alert/mute slider, and more — but China only for now.

Apple:

Space:

Elsewhere:

Movies/TV:

Gaming:

Reviews

samsung galaxy a53 buttons and galaxy buds
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Features

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 open front bricks left
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Weekly Wonder

apollo 13 crew
The Apollo 13 crew return safely to Earth.

Turns out, this was an important week in space history, with not one, not two, but three significant events, and a conspiracy theory.

First up, on April 12, 1961, 27-year-old Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, orbiting the earth aboard Soviet spacecraft Vostok 1. His flight lasted one hour and 48 minutes before re-entering the atmosphere. It would be his only flight, as he died in 1968 when a plane he was piloting crashed near Moscow.

Here’s what you (probably) didn’t know about the first man in space:

  • Gagarin hadn’t always planned on becoming an astronaut — he’d trained as a steelworker.
  • His words on takeoff: “Poyehali!” (Let’s go).
  • The rocket was an R-7 or “Semyorka” adapted missile which carried the “Vostok” (meaning “East”) spacecraft.
  • He may not actually have been the first man in space. Wait, what?

Rumors abounded that a cosmonaut had beaten Gagarin into space five days earlier, on April 7. The man in question was supposedly test pilot Vladimir Ilyushin. In fact, some claimed Ilyushin’s flight took place even earlier, on March 25.

  • Supposedly, the flight hadn’t gone as planned, with Ilyushin badly injured and lying unconscious in a Moscow hospital — though the Soviet Union claimed he was being treated for injuries following a car accident.
  • This was thought to have been the reason why Ilyushin’s status as “first man in space” was cast aside in favor of Gagarin’s successful mission.
  • Many journalists believed the car accident was a cover story. Others believed Ilyushin was in a coma.
  • Yet there was no evidence of the April 7 flight, with North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) not picking up on anything.

In 1999, “The Cosmonaut Cover-Up,” a documentary about the Ilyushin/Gagarin conspiracy claimed that Ilyushin had “failed to eject from his capsule, crashed in China, and, after being captured, was eventually handed back to the U.S.S.R. in 1962.” Apparently, he refused to talk about the event on camera.

And this was far from the first Russian cover-up:

  • In 1980 the death of Valentin Bondarenko made worldwide news. According to The New York Times, he died in 1961 during a 15-day low-pressure endurance experiment after a fire broke out, and his image was later removed from training photos.
  • In 1989, the world found out about a major launchpad incident that resulted in the deaths of 78 people in October 1960.
    There are probably many more incidents we still don’t know about.

Space.com highlights some evidence that came to light surrounding the conspiracy:

Achille and Giovanni Judica-Cordiglio, two former amateur radio operators, claimed to have recorded audio from an orbiting capsule days before Gagarin’s flight. This had supposedly happened before, in May 1960, when they had overheard a broadcast of a manned spacecraft going off-course, in November that same year, picking up SOS Morse Code from a spacecraft in trouble as it left Earth’s orbit, and again in 1961, when they, disturbingly, reported hearing a broadcast of an astronaut supposedly suffocating to death.

These have never been proven to be genuine, sadly, but if they were, it may even mean that Ilyushin wasn’t the first man in space.

  • Former Soviet senior engineer Mikhail Rudenko claimed cosmonauts had been sent to space in 1957, 1958, and 1959, and that “all three pilots died during the flights and their names were never officially published.” This story was published on pravda.ru on April 12, 2001, though the site’s known for its outlandish alien encounter headlines.

Ilyushin died in 2010 aged 82 and never confessed to having gone to space. Sadly, we may never know the truth.

Also this week in space history:

  • April 13, 1970, was the “Houston, we’ve had a problem here” moment, when an oxygen tank aboard Apollo 13’s Service Module exploded. The resulting loss of electricity and oxygen forced the crew to abandon the Command Module for the Lunar Module, stranded for four days while NASA planned a rescue mission. All three astronauts safely returned to earth.
  • April 12, 1981, exactly 20 years after Yuri Gagarin’s space flight, saw the launch of NASA’s first space shuttle mission STS-1, sending the Columbia on its maiden voyage. The launch had actually been set for two days earlier on April 10, but was delayed.

Tech Calendar

  • April 19: World  of Warcraft expansion reveal @ 6 PM CEST
  • April 20: Meta Quest Gaming Showcase @ 10 AM PT
  • April 21: OnePlus Ace launch (China) @ 7 AM ET
  • April 22: The Northman opens in theaters
  • April 28: OnePlus event (India, 7 PM IST)
  • April 29: Nintendo Switch Sports released
  • May 9-11: Qualcomm 5G Summit (San Diego)
  • May 11-12: Google I/O 2022
  • June 6-10: Apple WWDC 2022

Tech Tweet of the Week

Welcome to America’s multi-user spaceport! Seen here is @SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket for #Ax1 on Pad 39A & our #Artemis I rocket on 39B. This is the 1st time two different types of rockets & spacecraft made to carry humans are on the sister pads at the same time.
📷NASA/Jamie Peer pic.twitter.com/MsJYAiZWsO
— NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (@NASAKennedy) April 7, 2022

Something extra: From The Hustle — We love Ralph “Pop” Miller, a pet transporter who shares the cutest pups (and his weekly wisdom) over on TikTok.