Yuri Gagarin: A Hero Remembered
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Yuri Gagarin: A Hero Remembered

Yuri Gagarin: A Hero Remembered, Yuri Gagarin: First Man in Space

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A milestone in space exploration was achieved when Russian spacecraft Vostok 1 completed the first orbit on Earth with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard, that was 12 April 1961, fifty years ago today. Returning back to Earth, Yuri Gagarin received a hero’s welcome and became an instant sensation nonetheless.

Born 9 March 1934, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was then 27 years old, six years serving the Soviet Air Force and one out of 20 candidates selected for the Soviet space program. Standing just 5’2”, he was quite short unlike other “big men” in history but his small stature didn’t deprive him to earn his right to be considered a hero and ironically, despite his size he reached the highest point firsthand than any other human being. His small built just fitted the space mission since Vostok 1 was so cramped with only two sections, one for the crew (Gagarin) and the other for life support systems and supplies. He was undoubtedly courageous considering his mission was the first of its kind to utilize a human being aboard after the Soviets experimented with dogs in the early launches which were mostly unsuccessful. The Vostok 1 completed orbit of the Earth at about 1 hour and 48 minutes and successfully reentered into the Earth’s atmosphere. Yuri Gagarin returned back safely with the whole world cheering nothing short of a celebrity. It took eight years, three months and eight days for the United States to reclaim supremacy in the “space race” (which she took when the Apollo 11 mission successfully landed man on the moon the 20th of July 1969).

Yuri Gagarin gained medals and honours including “Hero of the Soviet Union” which is the highest award. He toured worldwide promoting the success of the Soviet space program and received fast promotion. He attained the rank of Colonel in the Soviet Air Force two years after the successful space mission. He was given prestigious positions and was treasured so much (being a hero) that the Soviets encouraged him away from flights to keep him out of danger. He was banned to participate further in spaceflights when Soyuz 1 crashed where he was a back up pilot.

He was later assigned as deputy training director of cosmonaut training facility which should keep him busy with management affairs and out of action but his yearning to keep fit and “current” as what pilots should be left him with an option to re-qualify as fighter pilot. On a routine training flight aboard a Mig-15 UTI “Midget”, Yuri Gagarin met his death on a fatal crash 27 March 1968. He was 34 years old.

References:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/sts1/gagarin_anniversary.html

http://www.russianarchives.com/gallery/gagarin/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/12/yuri-gagarin-royalty-new-biography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Gagarin

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Comments (21)

You did honor to this hero by your great information here.

Rightly remembered.

Okay well shows how little I knew.. when I was young I remember hearing about him, but I guess my mind filled in things different, I thought he was the guy who died when a rocket went up in space.. and missed the moon's orbit or some such thing.. funny how I never realized that was not the case until now!

I really don't know the guy but he is indeed a hero. Good info here, Will.

Yes Will, this is an honor to a space hero and a prolific way to remember.

Excellent article. I always thought this was the greatest achievement in space exploration.

An excellent memorial to a true hero.

Thanks for the comments everyone. It was a high time in human history to achieve such a feat where despite the Cold War, mankind seemed to have felt the emotion as one devoid of nationality. I was just fortunate to publish this article in time to remember a true hero. Years from now we may be feeling the same emotion when one of our kind sets foot on Mars.

You will never know what can happen to a hero like Yuri. The trend seems to be that heroes usually do not last long.

That's true Patrick. Being a hero or a living legend simply has it's repercussions. The pressure and expectations never end which was probably a contributing factor to anyone who will be on Yuri's shoes.

You reminded us with an age of victory.Thanks deep for sharing

As a Russian-born, I'm very proud of Gagarin. Thank you for writing about him.

Thanks for the comments, Abdel, Liz.

It's so ironic that a hero such as this should die in a routine training flight, and so young. It seems there is no logic to life and death.

I remember many of the first Soviet cosmonauts...I wonder if they flew voluntarily. Great article deep blue.

Outstanding.

A fantastic tribute!

Thanks for the reactions everyone. I am compelled of another topic owing to that view, Jannette. Thanks.

This is a great article about a hero to be remembered.

Returning to award you a well deserved vote up.

Great article.

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