Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (Ю́рий Алексе́евич Гага́рин) -
The first man in space, he was a Russian cosmonaut during the Cold War/Space Race. On April 12th 1961 he made his flight into orbit on the Vostok 1. His flight lasted about 108 minutes. He is also considered the first man to orbit the earth (by some people, others say it was someone else).
“Circling the Earth in the orbital spacecraft, I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty - not destroy it.”
- Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin ☄ on 12 April 1961 while in space.
Born in the small town of Klushino, he grew up on a farm. He had two brothers, Boris and Valentin. He also had a sister, Zoya. In the second world war, the Nazis invaded his hometown, took over his house, and kicked him out, forcing him and his family to live in a dugout until the end of the war.
He spent six years of his education at a local school, before going to several vocational and technical schools. When he was an adult, he went to the Air Force Training College in Orenburg. There he met his future wife, Valentina. He took his first solo flight in 1955. He had always dreamed of becoming a pilot, even a child. When he was a little boy he saw a plane that was forced to land in a field. He watched as the pilot got out and say all the medals the pilot had. Yuri knew from that moment that he wanted to be a brave and handsome pilot just like the one he saw.
In 1954 he graduated from the Soviet Air Force Academy. Yuri then served two years in the Russian Air Force.
Yuri was selected out of a group of 20 to be the man to fly into space. Getting prepared for his trip into space, he underwent many physical and mental tests. Finally the day would arrive though.
On April 12, 1961 Yuri was launched into orbit. He was 327km above Earth at the height of the trip. The flight lasted a total of 108 minutes. The Vostok 1 (which he was in) orbited the earth at 27400 km per hour. After the flight, there was a mass celebration. Yuri was officially the first man in space, the Soviet Union beating the United States. Yuri was greeted by thousands of Russians waiting to see him. There was a ceremony for him at the Lenin Mausoleum. Yuri even got the honor of meeting Nikita Khrushchev (who was General Secretary at the time).
After his days of the space program were ending, he moved with his family to Star City which was a special city just for the men and their families who were working in the space program. Yuri eventually had two daughters, Elena and Galina.
Something interesting about Yuri is that he loved poetry and history very much. He read many works from Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens. One of his favorite time periods was the French Revolution. He also had a particular love for other nations such as Britain, France, and Cuba.
On March 27, 1968 … Yuri was in a fatal airplane crash. During this time he had been training for a second trip into space. While there are many rumors about his death, not much is actually known about it. Yuri died with the full title of Colonel Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin.
Today he is honored all over the world, many things being named after him. He will always remain the first man into space, the first real step towards our mission to outerspace.
Info was used from my speech for English class last year. For more info on Yuri Gagarin, go to these places:
Or read the book -
Starman: The Truth Behind The Legend of Yuri Gagarin