Gagarin: the smiling cosmonaut

book coverOn 12 April 1961, Yuri Gagarin, aged 27, became the first man in space – orbiting Earth aboard the spaceship Vostok 1. Gagarin’s time in space lasted 89 minutes, reaching a maximum altitude of 327 kilometres, and a maximum speed of 28 260 kilometres per hour. That’s 7.85km per second. His first words in space were: “I see Earth! It’s so beautiful!”. After his historic flight, he wrote:

Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!

12 April 2011 is the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s historic flight, the world community is celebrating Yuri’s Day to commemorate the event.  A free film to download and share, first orbit, will also premiere on YouTube.

Some interesting facts about this space pioneer:

  • Gagarin wasn’t a tall man – 1.57 metres. This was an advantage as there was limited space available in Vostok 1;
  • His wife didn’t know he went on the first man-into-space mission until she heard it on the radio the following morning;
  • Gagarin was apparently selected from  candidates because of a distinctive part of his character – his lovely sunny smile. The flight supervisor said that he would succeed because of it;
  • A smile of God: according to ancient Sanskrit Ga =  go,  Ra = Sun, the family name Gagarin is translated as: Go, go up to the Sun.

Everyone is very welcome to give himself a taste of real space exploration mission.