Yuri Gagarin: first man in space

Date:7 April 2011 Tags:,

On 12 April 1961, nearly 50 years ago, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, making a 108-minute orbital flight in his Vostok 1 spacecraft (Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space less than a month later). Vostok 1 circled Earth at a speed of 27 400 km/h. At the highest point, Gagarin was about 327 km above Earth.

Once in orbit, Gagarin had no control over his spacecraft. Vostok's re-entry was controlled by a computer program sending radio commands to the space capsule. Although the controls were locked, a key had been placed in a sealed envelope in case an emergency situation made it necessary for Gagarin to take control. As was planned, Cosmonaut Gagarin ejected after re-entry into Earth's atmosphere and landed by parachute. Watch the video of the launch and re-entry…

Gagarin, often referred to as "The Columbus of The Cosmos”, died on 27 March 1968 when the MiG-15 he was piloting crashed near Moscow. At the time of his death, he was in training for a second space mission.

  • Chris

    Anna, Please elaborate on that comment. Is that the truth?

  • Anna

    Hi Chris. Not long time ago I read a very interesting articul. If I give you a link will be very difficult for you to read it as english is not my home language, but try to google. This is true, russians as well amercans try conceal it but now slowly all issues getting came up. I am just supprised that PM did not mention it. Thanks

  • Seb

    the videos been removed!! 🙁 do you guys know where i can find it?

  • Popular Mechanics SA

    Hi Seb. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We’ve now embedded a similar YouTube video…