Yuri Gagarin best known as the first human being in space, having flown for one orbit in his Yostok spacecraft on April 12, 1961. This year marks the 50th anniversary of his journey.
* Gagarin was born on March 9, 1934, in the town of Klushino, in Russia.
* His father, Alexei Ivanovich, was a carpenter who worked on a collective farm. His mother was Anna Timofeyevna.
* Gagarin attended an elementary school in Gzhatsk. He studied physics in the 6th grade. In 1951 he attended the Saratov Industrial Technical School, In 1955 he joined the Saratov Flying Club and learned to fly the Yak-18. He was drafted later that year and eventually learned to fly Migs as an officer in the Soviet Air Force.
* Gagarin married Valentina Goryacheva the day he was commissioned a Soviet Air Force Lieutenant on Nov. 7, 1957.
* Gagarin flew Migs at an airfield above the Arctic Circle for the next two years.
* He volunteered as a cosmonaut in 1959 and was eventually part of the group of 12 that moved to Star City for further training in 1960.
* Gagarin was trained in subjects such as space navigation, physiology, and astronomy, as well as practice on a mockup of the Vostok. Gagarin impressed his instructors with his acumen and his even temper. As the son of a peasant who rose to become a Soviet Air Force pilot, he seemed to be the personification of what was referred to at the time as "the new Soviet man."
* Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth on April 12, 1961, on board the Vostok 1 spacecraft. He was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in then Soviet Kazakstan and after a flight of an hour and 48 minutes, landed in a field near the town of Saratov after ejecting from his spacecraft during descent. Gagarin's feet was hailed as a triumph of Soviet technology and Gagarin was hailed as a hero.
* Gargarin was named Hero of the Soviet Union and, as a Communist Party member, was named a deputy in the Supreme Soviet. He became head of the Soviet Cosmonaut corps and was enrolled in the Zhukovsky Institute of Aeronautical Engineering.
* Gargarin returned in 1967 to flight status as a backup cosmonaut in anticipation of a Moon landing.
* On March 27, 1968, Gagarin died in the crash of a plane while serving as a flight instructor.
* Gagarin is buried in the Kremlin Wall, as befits a Hero of the Soviet Union, The Apollo 11 astronauts took one of his medals to the Moon as a tribute and a crater there is named after him. April 12 is known as "Cosmonaut Day" in Russia and "Yuri's Night" throughout the world.(yahoo.news)

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