Inducted in 1990
First Person In Space, 1961
1934 – 1968
Colonel Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin, Soviet Air Force, became a Soviet hero as the first person to break the bonds of earth’s gravity and venture into the weightlessness of space when he orbited the earth on April 12, 1961. He described sights never before seen by man.
“I could clearly discern the outlines of continents, islands and rivers. The horizon presents a sight of unusual beauty. A delicate blue halo surrounds the earth, merging with the blackness of space in which the stars are bright and clear cut.”
Gagarin’s space voyage carried the human race beyond its planetary boundaries. Only eight years later, a person walked on the moon.
Gagarin was born on March 9, 1934, in the city of Gzhatsk, Russia, into a collective farmer’s family. He graduated in 1957 from the Voroshilov Aviation Technical Academy and soon afterward became a military fighter pilot with the rank of Lieutenant. In 1960, now a colonel, Gagarin was selected to be a member of the first group of USSR cosmonauts.
After the historic flight, Gagarin entered the Zhukowskii Military Academy and completed his study in 1968. The world was shocked to hear of his tragic death on March 27, 1968, the result of an accident while test piloting a MIG-15 aircraft.