Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space on April 12, 1961. His flight lasted just under two hours. During this flight, he orbited the earth once on the Vostok 1 spacecraft.
This spacecraft had manual controls but for the mission it was flown in automatic mode. After his return to earth, Yuri spent a lot of time travelling the world to promote the Soviet Union’s achievement. Yuri was born on March 9th 1934 near Gzhatsk.
At that time Russia as we know it today was known as the Russian SFSR, Soviet Union. Yuri Gagarin entered flight training at the Orenburg Military Pilot’s School in 1955.
Quick Facts: –
- Yuri Gagarin was a fighter pilot. He was shortlisted for the Vostok 1 Programme in 1960.
- He was selected to undertake the mission because he has a short stature (5’2″ tall) to fit inside the cramped cockpit of the Vostok spacecraft.
- He spent several years working on designing a reusable spacecraft for the Soviet Union.
- Vostok 1 spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur space station.
- When Gagarin launched from the Baikonur space station he held the military rank of lieutenant. Right after landing, he was promoted to major.
- In 1962, he served as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.
- In June 1962, Gagarin was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and in November 1963, to Colonel.
- Gagarin has a crater on the moon and an asteroid named after him.
- He was also backup commander for the ill-fated Soyuz 1 mission, which crashed on 24 April 1967.
- He died in a military training flight in a MiG-15UTI fighter on 27 March 1968, aged 34 years.