April 12th is proclaimed the International Day of Human Space Flight, which is annually celebrated at the international level. In Russia, the holiday is called Cosmonautics Day. The date is timed to coincide with the first manned space flight, which was made by Y. A. Gagarin on the Vostok-1 spaceship on April 12, 1961.

Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin – USSR pilot-cosmonaut, Hero of the Soviet Union, cavalier of the highest insignia of a number of states, honorary citizen of many Russian and foreign cities.

The Vostok launch vehicle with the Vostok-1 ship, on board of which was Gagarin, was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. After 108 minutes of flight, Gagarin landed successfully in the Saratov region, near the city of Engels.

The first space flight aroused great interest throughout the world, and Yuri Gagarin himself turned into a world celebrity. At the invitation of foreign governments and public organizations, he visited about 30 countries. In the following years, Gagarin conducted a great social and political work, graduated from the Air Force Engineering Academy named after Professor N. E. Zhukovsky, worked at the Cosmonaut Training Center and was preparing for a new flight into space.

March 27, 1968 Yuri Gagarin died in a plane crash in the Vladimir region, performing a training flight on a MiG-15UTI aircraft under the guidance of an experienced instructor V. S. Seregin. The causes and circumstances of the crash remain not fully understood to this day.

In connection with the death of Gagarin in the Soviet Union, national mourning was declared (for the first time in the history of the USSR in memory of a man who was not the head of state). In honor of the first cosmonaut of the Earth, a number of settlements (including his hometown – Gzhatsk) was renamed, streets and avenues were named. In different cities of the world, many monuments were erected.

Who should be the first to fly into space, the Chief Designer of the Special Design Bureau No. 1 S.P. Korolyov and his associates did not raise doubts – this should be a fighter jet pilot. To work with space technology, special candidates were needed — people who were absolutely healthy, professionally trained, disciplined, and who met all physical and medical requirements.

In addition to Gagarin, there were still contenders for the first flight into space; there were twenty of them in all (First detachment of cosmonauts of the USSR). Candidates were recruited among military fighter pilots by decision of Korolev, who believed that such pilots already had experience of overloads, stressful situations and pressure drops. The selection in the first cosmonaut team was carried out on the basis of medical, psychological and a number of other parameters: age 25-30 years, height not more than 170 cm, weight not more than 70-72 kg, ability to adapt to altitude and stratosphere, speed of reaction, physical endurance, mental equilibrium.

At the very beginning of the ascent of the rocket, Gagarin exclaimed: “Let’s go!” In orbit, Gagarin reported on his sensations, the condition of the ship and observations. He watched the Earth through the porthole with its clouds, mountains, forests, rivers, seas, saw the sky and the Sun, other stars during a flight in the shadow of the Earth. Observations were recorded on the on-board tape recorder. Gagarin also conducted the simplest experiments: drank, ate, made notes with a pencil.

Interesting fact

Before the flight, it was not yet known how the human psyche would behave in space, so special protection was provided that the first astronaut, in a fit of insanity, would not try to control the flight of the ship or damage the equipment. To enable manual control, he needed to open a sealed envelope, inside of which lay a sheet with a mathematical problem, the solution of which resulted in an unlock code for the control panel.

I endlessly admire such heroes! They entered the abyss of uncertainty, fully aware that they could never return to their native Earth. Gagarin, Armstrong, Aldrin, Leonov and many other astronauts, and cosmonauts of the planet.

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