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Yuri Gagarin Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (9)  | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (4)

Born in Klushino, Gzhatskiy rayon, Zapadnaya oblast, RSFSR, USSR [now Gagarinskiy rayon, Smolenskskaya oblast, Russia]
Died in Novoselovo, Kirzhachskiy rayon, Vladimirskaya oblast, RSFSR, USSR [now Russia]  (plane crash)
Birth NameYuriy Alekseevich Gagarin
Height 5' 2" (1.57 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first man to enter deep space on April 12, 1961, when the Soviet cosmonaut made a flight that orbited Earth lasting one hour and 48 minutes in his Vostok 1 spacecraft. This accomplishment made the smiling Soviet pilot internationally famous as the first man to venture into space, the final frontier. The feat beat the Americans, who put Alan Shepherd into space in a sub-orbital flight on May 5, 1961, and did not have an astronaut orbit the earth until John Glenn accomplished the feat on February 20, 1962.

The perpetually smiling Gagarin, who was promoted from senior lieutenant to major in the Soviet Air Force and was awarded the honor Hero of the Soviet Union for his accomplishment, became an international celebrity. He made many trips to foreign lands, including three to the United Kingdom, to publicize the Soviet space program that, since its inception with Sputnik in 1957, had been more advanced than that of the United States. Thus, Gagarin was a prime pawn in the propaganda wars between the two countries at the height of the Cold War.

He was appointed a deputy to the Supreme Soviet in 1962 before he went back to the Soviet cosmonaut training facility, Star City, where the extremely bright Gargarin worked designing reusable spacecraft. He eventually was promoted to the rank of full Colonel of the Soviet Air Force. His celebrity was still so great, the Soviet government refused to let him return to space, though he eventually was chosen as one of the astronauts for the Soviet moon landing program. Though he had been trained as jet fighter pilot, his superiors limited his flight time so as not to lose one of the USSR's greatest heroes of the Cold War period.

Gagarin was chosen as the backup pilot for the Soyuz 1 flight, the first flight of a program that was intended to put a Soviet cosmonaut on the moon by 1968. The flight was made by team leader Vladimir Komarov, and the launch of Soyuz 1 was opposed by Gagarin due to safety concerns. Gararin was right: the Soyyz I capsule crashed after re-entry on April 24, 1967, making Komarov the first person to die during a space flight. After the incident, Gagarin again was banned from participating in the manned space program as an active cosmonaut. He was appointed deputy training director of Star City.

The 34-year-old Gagarin died on March 27, 1968 during a routine training flight in a MiG-15UTI. The ashes of Gagarin and co-pilot Vladimir Seryogin were entombed in the Kremlin and Star City was renamed in his honor.

Soviet space program architect Sergei Korolev claimed that Gagarin had a smile "that lit up the Cold War". But for the crash of Soyuz 1 (which signaled the ultimate failure of the Soviet moonshot program), Gagarin, the first man in space, might have been the first on the moon. He was honored by American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the first men on the moon, when they left behind a bag containing medals commemorating Gagarin and Komarov on the lunar surface.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (1)

Valentina Ivanovna Goryacheva (27 October 1957 - 27 March 1968) ( his death) ( 2 children)

Trivia (9)

Became the first human in space on April 12, 1961.
To commemorate his feat as a cosmonaut and being the first human in space, a crater on the moon is named after him. In July 1971 when the crew on Apollo 15 visited the moon, they left a plaque in memory of 14 men, Russians and Americans, who died in the struggle to help human-kind into Space. Gagarin was one of those names.
From 1962 he served as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet, but later returned to "Star City", the cosmonaut facility, where he worked on designs for a reusable spacecraft. In 1967, he was selected as backup for the first Soyuz launch. The Soyuz capsule's parachute failed during reentry and the craft crashed, killing Vladimir Komarov.
After the space flight, he became an instant, worldwide celebrity, touring widely to promote the Soviet achievement. He proved quite adept at handling the publicity. However, it appeared to gradually wear him down, and he became a heavy drinker as a result.
While in orbit he was promoted "in the field" from the lowly rank of Second Lieutenant to Major - and this was the rank at which TASS announced him in its triumphant statement during the flight.
Rumors that he was drunk during his fatal flight are incorrect. He passed two medical examinations before the flight, and post-mortem tests found no evidence of alcohol or drugs in his system. A new theory, advanced by the original crash investigator in 2005, hypothesises that a cabin vent was accidentally left open by the crew or the previous pilot, thus leading to oxygen deprivation and leaving the crew incapable of controlling the aircraft. The Russian press reported he stayed with the aircraft to avoid it hitting a school, although this may have been apocryphal.
On March 27, 1968, he was killed in a crash of a MiG-15 on a routine training flight near Moscow together with his instructor. It is uncertain what caused the crash, but a 1986 inquiry suggests that the turbulence from a Su-11 interceptor airplane using its afterburners may have caused his plane to go out of control. Weather conditions were also poor, which probably contributed to the inability of Gagarin and the instructor to correct before they crashed.
The first Russian (as well as the first man) in space, something the Russians loved to remind other countries of. In Russian schools, his photo was put up in the front entrance and students were expected to salute to it on the way in.
Gagarin was buried in Tverskayer in Moscow.

Personal Quotes (4)

I could have gone on flying through space forever. [on the first manned space flight, quoted in the New York Times, 14 April 1961]
I see the earth! It is beautiful! [first words ever spoken by a human in outer space]
I don't know whether I'm the first man in space, or the last dog in space. [Joking about disabled manual controls on his space ship]
[first words ever spoken by a human leaving Earth for outer space] Let's go!

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