Friday, April 12, 2024

First Human in Space: Celebrating Yuri Gagarin's April 12, 1961 Spaceflight

First Human in Space: Celebrating Yuri Gagarin's April 12, 1961 Spaceflight

Yuri Gagarin is pictured here before his historic April 12, 1961 launch, with Kirill Moskalenko (Army Marshal of the Soviet Union) and head engineer Sergei Korolyov. Note: Yuri's helmet features the abbreviation CCCP, standing for the Central Committee of the Communist Party (CCCP) of the Soviet Union to identify his nationality. Korolyov was the lead Soviet rocket engineer and spacecraft designer during the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s.

Schematic diagram of Yuri Gagarin's Vostok 1 spacecraft

Vostok 3KA (1:3 scale model) A Vostok 3A spacecraft carried Yuri Gagarin and other Vostok cosmonauts of the Soviet Union into space during the early 1960s. 

(Source: Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum)

Headline in The Huntsville Times newspaper in the U.S. state of Alabama on April 12, 1961

U.S. President John F. Kennedy's Letter of Congratulations to Nikita Khrushchev, leader of the Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), after Yuri Gagarin's historic 1961 spaceflight. (Source: JFK Library)

Yuri Gagarin surrounded by a crowd of children, circa 1961.

A statue of Yuri Gagarin, the first human to fly in space, looms over the town square in Karaganda, Kazakhstan. Gagarin, who died in an aircraft training accident in 1968, was launched into the history books from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in present-day Kazakhstan on April 12, 1961.
A close-up view of a commemorative plaque left on the Moon, August 1, 1971, at the Hadley-Apennine landing site in memory of 14 NASA astronauts and USSR cosmonauts. Their names were inscribed in alphabetical order on the plaque. The plaque was stuck in the lunar soil by NASA astronauts David R. Scott, commander, and James B. Irwin, lunar module pilot, during their Apollo 15 lunar surface extravehicular activity (EVA). The names on the plaque are Charles A. Bassett II, Pavel I. Belyayev, Roger B. Chaffee, Georgi Dobrovolsky, Theodore C. Freeman, Yuri A. Gagarin, Edward G. Givens Jr., Virgil I. Grissom, Vladimir Komarov, Viktor Patsayev, Elliot M. See Jr., Vladislav Volkov, Edward H. White II, and Clifton C. Williams Jr. The tiny, man-like object represents the figure of a fallen astronaut/cosmonaut.

“After flying around the Earth in a satellite ship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, we should preserve and multiply this beauty – not destroy it.”
—Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin

This is the 63rd Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's Flight! The International Day of Human Spaceflight and Cosmonautics Day in Russia celebrate the first human spaceflight carried out by Yuri Gagarin in 1961.

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (March 9, 1934–March 27, 1968) was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut who, aboard the first successful crewed spaceflight, became the first human to journey into outer space. Traveling on his Vostok 1 spacecraft, Gagarin completed one orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961, with his flight taking 108 minutes.

Following Earth re-entry and after ejecting from his space capsule at 7 km (23,000 ft) altitude. Gagarin landed using his own parachute. He and his spacecraft arrived 26 km southwest of Engels, in the Saratov region of present-day Russia at 51° North, 45° East.

Two schoolgirls witnessed the Vostok 1 capsule landing and described the scene: "It was a huge ball, about two or three meters high. It fell, then it bounced and then it fell again. There was a huge hole where it hit the first time."

A farmer and her daughter observe the strange scene of a figure in a bright orange suit with a large white helmet landing near them by parachute.

Gagarin later recalled, "When they saw me in my spacesuit and the parachute dragging alongside as I walked, they started to back away in fear. I told them, 'Don't be afraid, I am a Soviet like you, who has descended from space and I must find a telephone to call Moscow!'"

Image Credits: NASA/JSC/Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum/JFK Library

#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Earth #History #HumanSpaceflight #YuriGagarin #ЮрийГагарин #Cosmonaut #Pilot #Russia #Россия #SovietUnion #USSR #CCCP #Roscosmos #Роскосмос #CosmonauticsDay #SpaceExploration #STEM #Education

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