(move cursor on images for description)
Yury Gagarin walks towards launch pad

The event

"Gawarit Moskva. Yury Alexeyevich Gagarin sputnika Vostok" Radio Moscow speaker said on April 12, 1961 announcing an amazing news.
At Moscow time 09:07 a.m. a voice from a loudspeaker somewhere at the Baykonur Cosmodrome in central Kazakhstan, U.S.S.R., said "Zazhyganiye" (Russian for "ignition") and the first manned space adventure begun. The most powerful rocket at that time carried a young jet fighter pilot, parachutist and, moreover, cosmonaut into space. His name was Yury Alexeyevich Gagaring, 27 years old, married, with two children.
Yury was born in Klushino, a village near Smolensk, of the western Soviet Union. In 1959 he joined as volunteer to a group of about 3,000 men for a new amazing project. Eventually 20 cosmonauts were selected and Yury was one of them.
Launch of Vostok 1 spacecraft

The flight

On April 8, 1961 he was officially named pilot for the first Vostok mission. Only four days later he flew into space onboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft named "Swallow". His historic flight lasted about 90 minutes and made a single orbit of our planet.
Thirty-two engines ignited at the rocket's base and the spaceship begun its climb to sky. The increasing speed generated a force of six times Earth's gravity. After strap-on boosters separeted the explosive bolts move away the protective shroud covering the "Swallow". Now Yury saw for the first time the blue Earth and the black sky above it. Few minutes later the second stage separeted from the ship leaving it alone orbiting our planet at an altitude as high as 302 km at the orbit's highest point.
Eighty-nine minutes later the Vostok's engine performed the de-orbit burn that brought Yury home again. Eventually he was ejected from the Vostok and opened his own parachute. The man hit the ground running and his mission was completed not far from the little village of Smelovaka.

Listen to Gagarin's voice form orbit!

Click here to download a 38 kb - 8 bit - mono - 11MHz wav file

Rare pictures of Yury:

Yury at home with his daughters Yury visits a zoo with his family Yury after his historic flight

Home | The fire | Vostok 6 | Soyuz 1 | Soyuz 11 | Soyuz-T 13 | What if...