The First Man in Space
April 12, 2011 marks a historic event for humanity. 50 years ago, the former Soviet Union sent the first human being beyond the Earth’s atmosphere into space. After the fall of Nazi Germany and the end of WWII, the United States and the Soviet Union remained as the world’s most powerful nations. The two countries entered into fierce competition with each other in order to obtain the rank of world’s most powerful nation. The Cold War began, and with it so too did the first international space race. The Soviets were first in space, but America was first on the moon. Yuri Gagarin was the lucky cosmonaut to make the truly historic flight. He spent nearly two full hours in orbit around the Earth, and then returned safely to solid ground, much to the delight of people watching around the world.
Yuri was born in the village of Klushino which was then part of the U.S.S.R. He wore the official CCCP logo on all of his cosmonaut gear as he dared to travel where no man has traveled before. His call sign on the radio was Kedr, which is a Siberian Pine tree. The spacecraft that carried Yuri around the globe was named the Vostok 1. This was Yuri’s first and last flight into space. He later served as an alternate for another Soviet space mission, but never made it back into space. Yuri was hailed as an international celebrity until his tragic death in 1968 as the result of a jet-plane crash.
Today, people still pay homage to Yuri in different ways. His face appeared on a commemorative coin in Russia in 2001. There are many status all around Russia that depict Yuri. Here at The Russian Store, we carry a special Yuri t-shirt to honor his memory and lasting legacy. Even Google got in on the fun today with one of there signature Google Doodles for Yuri. Yuri is loved throughout the world, and he will remain an inspiration to people of all ages; always reminding them that they can achieve the impossible.