Yuri Gagarin – the first human to travel into Space, and the first to orbit the Earth
Yuri (Yuriy, Yury, Uri) Alekseyevich Gagarin was born on 9th March 1934 near the small town Gzhatsk in the village of Klushino. Later, this town was renamed Gagarin in his honour.
Gagarin was a very bright personality – highly developed and communicative. He was an excellent learner – had a high school grades and finished his higher education with honours as well. Gagarin was interested in planes, flights and aero-modeling from his early years and learned to fly a light aircraft at Saratov’s “AeroClub”, a hobby that would take up an increasing portion of his time.
In 1960 when he was 26, Gagarin was chosen with 19 other pilots for the Soviet space program. All candidates were tested on physical and psychological endurance. Nobody knows how the man will behave in Cosmos, so the first cosmonaut had to be psychically steady and highly developed physically, because during the first flight could be overloads, stressful situations and pressure differences. Parameters for selection: age of 25-30 years, growth no more than 170 sm, weight no more than 70-72 kg, ability to high-rise and stratospheric adaptation, speed of reaction, physical endurance, mental steadiness. Many of chosen 19 candidates were ready to flight, but Gagarin was so popular among his fellow candidates that, when they were all asked to anonymously nominate which one of them they would like to see become the first cosmonaut, all but three chose him. One of the factors contributing to Gagarin’s selection for the launch of Vostok 1 was the fact he was only 5ft 2in tall, a distinct advantage in the spacecraft’s cramped two-metre wide cockpit.
The plan was to put a rocket with a capsule with man on a 180-200 kilometer orbit. This capsule will make 1 turn around the Earth and using the brake installation to come back to the Soviet soil. In any case the capsule had a 10 days life-support systems to enable the first cosmonaut remain alive within 10 days of natural braking about an upper atmosphere and further returning on the earth.
The Stars Are Getting Closer
The spaceship that had to take Gagarin on orbit called “Vostok 1”. It’s necessary to say that before Vostok no rocket was powerful enough to get a vessel going as fast as necessary to escape Earth’s gravitational pull (the speed should be 5 miles per second). The Vostok capsule’s cannonball shape helped the rocket and spacecraft reach the necessary velocity.
Actually before Gagarin there were several attempts to put the man into Space, but they all resulted in death of cosmonauts. Gagarin knew that he can be either dead or World’s celebrity. But he was very confident and still.
The flight was planned on 12 April 1961. It is known that when the bus carried the group of engineers with full-equipped Gagarin to the rocket, he asked to stop for “pipi” and did it through the hole of the space costume. After this every modern Russian cosmonaut does the same before the flight 😀
Gagarin sat at capsule and started final countdown. Right before the rocket left, he yelled his famous “Поехали!” (Poehali – Let’s go!) and flew. The flight lasted 108 minutes. During the flight there were a lot of scary things – for example there were very hot outside (+5000 C) and Gagarin saw how the streams of the heated metal flew down by a capsule illuminator. But he felt ok, was singing songs, writing and speaking a lot with commander. He said: “Oh, how beautiful our planet is, let’s keep it safe!”
Gagarin took a trip once around the Earth at 17,500 mph (most of the way), less than an hour and a half. In that time, Vostok 1 completed one not-quite-circular orbit, at a maximum altitude of 203 miles, before slowing down to the point that the capsule was pulled back into the atmosphere for ballistic re-entry. He catapulted when he was 7 km from Earth. He landed not at the planned place, so the first people who met him were the wife of forester and her daughter. Then Gagarin was brought directly to Moscow, where everyone met him as a World’s hero. After the flight, Gagarin became a worldwide celebrity, touring widely abroad. A lot of newborn boys called Yuri because of Gagarin.
Now 12 April is the Day of Astronautics. Yuri Gagarin is associated with Russian characteristics – willpower, endurance, purposefulness, collectivism, humour, cleanliness and width of soul. His beautiful smile and shining eyes, in my opinion, is a great image of Russian people.
Here is the video about Gagarin’s flight.
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