SCIENCE AND EDUCATION


Yuri Gagarin: First Man in Space

April 12, 1961, 9:07 a.m. Moscow time, the Vostok 1 spacecraft ready for launch…

Baku, April 12, AZERTAC

Yuri Gagarin was the first person to fly in space. His flight, on April 12, 1961, lasted 108 minutes as he circled the Earth for a little more than one orbit in the Soviet Union's Vostok spacecraft.

Following the flight, Gagarin became a cultural hero in the Soviet Union. Even today, more than six decades after the historic flight, Gagarin is widely celebrated in Russian space museums, with numerous artifacts, busts and statues displayed in his honor. His remains are buried at the Kremlin in Moscow, and part of his spacecraft is on display at the RKK Energia museum.

Gagarin's flight came at a time when the United States and the Soviet Union were competing for technological supremacy in space. The Soviet Union had already sent the first artificial satellite, called Sputnik, into space in October 1957.

Before Gagarin's mission, the Soviets sent a test flight into space using a prototype of the Vostok spacecraft. During this flight, they sent a life-size dummy called Ivan Ivanovich and a dog named Zvezdochka into space. After the test flight, the Soviet's considered the vessel fit to take a human into space.

The 60th anniversary of Gagarin's flight will be in 2021. The space community also commemorates Gagarin's achievement every year with Yuri's Night, a celebration that takes place on his launch date of April 12. Yuri's Night was founded in 2001 and attracts thousands of celebrants each year.

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