The cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin went down in historical past as the primary human ever to enter area. From humble beginnings he would attain the rank of senior lieutenant fighter as a pilot within the Soviet Air Forces earlier than being accepted into the Soviet area programme in March of 1960. It was little over one 12 months later, on 12 April 1961, that he was launched into orbit from Baikonur Cosmodrome in present-day Kazakhstan, the place he spent 108 minutes aloft, orbiting the globe as soon as in his craft, Vostok 1.
Officially, he got here again to Earth in his capsule. Though it subsequently emerged that he truly parachuted to security when it was nonetheless 7 kilometres from the bottom.
Despite that glitch, this was one other technological and PR victory for the Soviet Union simply three and a half years after they launched Sputnik 1, the primary synthetic satellite tv for pc. Gagarin was the best poster boy. Good trying, charming, modest and the ideologically unimpeachable son of a carpenter and dairy farmer engaged on a collective farm, he grew to become the human face of the Soviet system on the western aspect of the Iron Curtain. He undertook a world tour, was feted by overseas leaders and have become a hero to schoolchildren across the globe.
The US managed to shoot a human – Alan Shepard, who later went on to stroll on the moon – into area weeks in a while 5 May, after which solely on a brief sub-orbital flight. But the gauntlet was picked up: on 25 May President John F. Kennedy introduced to a particular session of the US Congress the intention that an American would stroll on the moon earlier than the last decade was out. This was the start of what grew to become the Apollo programme.
Gagarin himself by no means flew in area once more. In 1968, he died aged simply 34 in an unexplained airplane crash, fuelling conspiracy theories that he was killed for rising in popularity than the regime he represented.
Full title: Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin
Birth: 9 March 1934, Klushino, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Death: 27 March 1968, Novosyolovo, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Yuri Gagarin was a Soviet cosmonaut well-known for being the primary human ever to enter area, spending 108 minutes orbiting the globe within the Vostok 1 spacecraft.