Getting To Know Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin (born March 9, 1934, in Gzhatsk, Russia, USSR [now Gagarin, Russia]—died March 27, 1968, near Moscow) was the first human to orbit the earth.

Gagarin, the son of a carpenter on a communal farm, graduated from a vocational school outside Moscow in 1951 as a molder. He pursued his studies at Saratov’s industrial college while also taking a flying course.

He attended the Soviet Air Force cadet school at Orenburg after finishing this training and graduated in 1957.

Why Yuri Gagarin Was Remembered After his Death

“Poyekhali!!” On April 12, 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin launched from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome with the single Russian word “Let’s go!” and became the first human to journey into space.

Gagarin was honored as a national hero by the Soviet Union after he returned from his historic single orbit of Earth. He gained a worldwide star after doing numerous goodwill trips.

For years, Soviet officials were hesitant to send him on a second space mission, fearing that he might be lost in an accident.

He rose through the ranks of the cosmonaut training center’s deputy training director, assisting other cosmonauts in their preparations for space flights, and presented his aeronautical engineering thesis on space aircraft design at the famous Zhukovski Air Force Academy.

Gagarin persisted in his ambition to return to space, and on the first Soyuz trip, he was appointed as Vladimir Komarov’s backup.

Following the death of Komarov in the Soyuz 1 disaster in April 1967, Soviet officials justified their prudence by allowing Gagarin to fly only with a flying instructor.

The MiG-15UTI jet in which they were flying crashed in adverse weather on March 27, 1968, while on a normal training trip from Chkalovskiy Air Base near the Star City cosmonaut training facility with flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin.

Gagarin was 34 years old at the time. His remains were deposited in the Kremlin wall, where space mission astronauts pay a yearly visit before departing for Baikonur.

“We join you in grieving the loss of Yuri Gagarin,” the NASA Astronaut Office said in a statement to the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union after receiving the news. Nothing will ever be able to erase the fact that he was the first pilot to travel into space.”

Many well-known space facilities were renamed in his honor after his death. The Gagarin Astronaut Training Center, located outside of Moscow, has been renamed after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

Once a top-secret facility, it now serves as a training ground for foreign personnel, including US astronauts, preparing for flights to the International Space Station (ISS).

The Gagarin Start is the launch pad of the Baikonur Cosmodrome from where Gagarin began his historic trip. The launchpad is still in use today to deploy international astronauts to the International Space Station.

In 2012, the Dialogue of Cultures – United World Foundation gave a bronze statue of Gagarin to the city of Houston, together with a bronze monument to John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, to represent the contemporary collaboration in space between two erstwhile enemies.

Before the Clear Lake complex was finished, the sculptures stood outside the building that originally held the first headquarters of the Manned Spacecraft Center (now the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center).


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