As the first man ever, Yuri Gagarin orbited the earth in 1961. Source: Getty Images

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the First Human To Journey Into Outer Space

On March 27, 1968, Gagarin was killed while test-piloting a MiG-15, a jet fighter aircraft.

Quite a lot of astronauts have traveled into space since we started building rockets and spacecraft. However, only a handful of them managed to return home. Space exploration was not safe back in the early 1900s as we did not have sufficient equipment to build advanced space capsules. 

Yuri Gagarin, First Man in Space. Source: NASA
Yuri Gagarin, First Man in Space. Source: NASA

Multiple people lost their lives as their capsules burst into flames while returning home. In today’s article, I am going to talk about a person who travelled into space without knowing if he would ever see his loved ones or not. He went ahead because he wanted to do something massive for humanity. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin wanted us to explore the space so we could have enough information regarding the outer space. 

Here are ten interesting facts regarding Yuri Gagarin, the astronaut who initiated space exploration: 

1) Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was the first human to travel into space:

Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin travelled aboard the spacecraft Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961. He bagged the title of being the first human to travel into space. During the flight, the 27-year-old test pilot and industrial technician also became the first man to orbit the planet, a feat accomplished by his space capsule in approximately 89 minutes.

2) Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin’s space capsule orbited the earth:

Gagarin’s capsule, Vostok 1, circled Earth at an altitude of 187 miles. The only statement associated with Gagarin during his one hour and 48 minutes in space was, “Flight is proceeding normally; I am well.”

3) Yuri Gagarin received multiple awards after returning to the earth:

Gagarin was awarded the Order of Lenin and was given the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Moreover, his monuments were raised all across the world, and multiple streets were named in his honour.

4) Yuri Gagarin was praised for defeating America and becoming the first person to orbit the earth:

Gargarin beat Americans and orbited the earth before them. In around 1962, an astronomer called John Glenn made three orbits in Friendship 7. However, Russia had already taken the trophy before Glenn’s space journey.

5) Before Gagarin’s historic mission, a dog and a dummy were sent in a test flight to space:

The Soviets initially sent a test flight into space using a model of the Vostok capsule. During this flight, they sent a dummy called Ivan Ivanovich and a dog named Zvezdochka into space. After the test flight, the Soviet Union sent Gagarin into space, and the mission was successful.

6) Gagarin was an exceptional cosmonaut of his time: 

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was born on March 9, 1934, near Moscow. Back when Yuri was a teenager, he saw a Russian Yak fighter plane make an emergency landing near his home. He was eventually offered a chance to join a reputable flying club when he got older. Gagarin accepted the offer and made his first solo flight in around 1955. He, later on, submitted his request to be considered as a cosmonaut, which was approved. 

7) Yuri Gagarin was given the manual control of the ship during his historic flight:

Gagarin was supposed to receive an override code that would allow him to take manual control of his spacecraft. However, the chief designer of the Soviet space program, Sergei Korolev, overlooked the protocol and issued the code before the flight. Gagarin managed to orbit the earth in around 108 minutes. The capsule had over ten days’ worth of reserves in case the engines failed. Gagarin, however, re-entered earth pretty quickly. 

8) Yuri Gagarin became a deputy of the Supreme Soviet when he returned: 

He was awarded multiple titles once he returned to the earth. He became a deputy of the Supreme Soviet and was appointed commander of the Cosmonauts’ Detachment. 

9) Yuri Gagarin ultimately died during a test flight:

On March 27, 1968, Gagarin was killed while test-piloting a MiG-15, a jet fighter aircraft. He was survived by his wife, Valentina Ivanovna Goryacheva, and two daughters.

10) Apollo 11’s crew left behind a medallion in honour of Yuri Gagarin:

Apollo 11, the first mission to put people on the moon, landed in July 1969. The crew of Apollo 11 left a memorial medallion bearing Gagarin’s name on the moon. 

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