FIRST EARTHMAN IN SPACE: YURI GAGARIN » Best photos just for you

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Yuri Gagarin, first man to orbit the earthThe U.S.S.R. was involved in their own space program. Russia had launched several rockets with moderate success. The Russian's were perfecting a guidance system and were getting closer to lofting a man into outer space. There were rumors here in the United States of the Russian's having a new space vehicle. The rumors turned out to be true. This new space vehicle was called Vostock. The Russian's launched a dog into space on 03/25/1961 and did not hesitate to send up a man.

Gagarin was chosen to be the first Russian cosmonaut to be lofted into space. On 04/12/1961 he boarded the Vostock 1 at the Cosmodrome in Barkonur, Russia and launched to circle the earth. He successfully orbited the Earth and landed the capsule in Russian territory near Smelovka, Russia.(the Russians landed on land.) and thus became the first human space traveller. Gagarin instantly became a national hero. After he landed he was being brought to the Kremlin, where his comrades intercepted him and surrounded the motorcade. A huge crowd surrounded Gagarin and cheered him. Gagarin was given a home, a car and was named Soviet Ambassador of Goodwill.

VostockHe was instantly a hero and elivated in stature and class. Gagarin was well known no matter where he went in Russia. His image has come to stand for the Russian space program. Still today, the Russian military and cosmonauts wear watches with Gagarin's picture on the face.

Yuri died while testing a Russian jet crash in 1968 and his ashes were entoumbed in the Kremlin wall. He is still considered a Russian hero. Since his successful flight in 1961, Yuri has become on of the most popular names for males in Russia. TeamQuest '96 noticed that there were a few athletes in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta named Yuri.

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