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Yuri Gagarin, communist martyr.

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Post 24 Jun 2005, 17:01

"Circling the earth in the orbital spaceship I marvelled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world!! Let us safeguard and enhance this beauty-not destroy it"

Early Life

Gagarin was born near Gzhatsk, and his parents worked on a collective farm. While manual labourers are described in official reports as "peasants", this is something of an exaggeration; his mother was reportedly a voracious reader, and his father a skilled carpenter who did not advertise his abilities to avoid the wrath of Stalin's purges against the kulaks. The third of four children, his elder sister helped raise him while his parents worked. Like millions of Russians, the Gagarin family suffered great hardship in World War II. His two elder siblings were taken away to Germany in 1943, and did not return until after the war. Gagarin himself was described as an intelligent, hard-working, if occasionally mischievous boy by his teachers. His mathematics teacher flew in the Red Army Air Force during the war, which presumably made some substantial impression on the young Gagarin.

After starting an apprenticeship in a metalworks, Gagarin was selected for further training at a technical school in Saratov. While there, he joined the "AeroClub", and learned to fly a light aircraft, a hobby that began to take up an increasing proportion of his time. Through dint of effort, rather than brilliance, he reportedly mastered both; in 1955, after completing his technical schooling, he entered military flight training at the Orenberg Pilot's School. While there he met Valentina Gorycheva, whom he married in 1957, after gaining his pilot's wings in a MiG-15. After graduating, he was posted at an airbase near Murmansk, where terrible weather made flying risky. As a full-grown man, Gagarin was 5 foot 2 inches tall.

Career in Soviet Space Program

Selection and Training

In 1960, an extensive search and selection process saw Gagarin, amongst 20 other cosmonauts, selected for the Soviet space program. Along with the other prospective cosmonauts, he was subjected to a punishing series of experiments designed to test his physical and psychological endurance, as well as training relating to the upcoming flight. Out of the 20 selected, eventually the choice for the first to launch was between Gagarin and Gherman Titov, because of their excellent performance in training, as well as their physical characteristics - space was at a premium in the small Vostok cockpit. The choice of Gagarin, ultimately approved at the highest levels, was probably made due to Gagarin's modest upbringing and genial, outgoing personality, as distinct from the middle-class and somewhat aloof Titov.

Space Flight
Yuri Gagarin

On April 12, 1961, Gagarin became the first human to travel into space (see Vostok 1). His call sign in this flight was Cedar (Russian: Кедр). According to the media abroad Soviet Union, from orbit Gagarin made the comment, "I don't see any god up here." However, there are no such words in the full verbatim record of Gagarin's conversations with the Earth during the spaceflight [1] (

He was promoted "in the field" from the lowly rank of Second Lieutenant to Major - and this was the rank at which TASS announced him in its triumphant statement during the flight. At the time the Soviet authorities thought it was more likely he would perish in the descent than survive.

Returning to Earth, Gagarin became very famous. Nikita Khrushchev rushed to his side and Gagarin issued a statement praising the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as the "organiser of all our victories". He then toured the world.

Khrushchev saw Gagarin's achievement as a vindication of his policy of strengthening the Soviet Union's missile forces at the expense of conventional arms. This policy antagonised the Soviet military establishment and contributed to Khrushchev's eventual downfall.

Post-Space Flight Activities

After the flight, Gagarin became an instant, worldwide celebrity, touring widely to promote the Soviet achievement. He proved quite adept at handling the publicity. However, it appeared to gradually wear him down, and he began to drink heavily - not helped by difficulties in his marriage. October 1961 he severely injured himself in a drunken holiday escapade with a young nurse in the Crimea.

From 1962 he served as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet, but later returned to "Star City", the cosmonaut facility, where he worked on designs for a reusable spacecraft. In 1967, he was selected as backup for the first Soyuz launch. The Soyuz capsule's parachute failed during reentry and the craft crashed, killing Vladimir Komarov.

Death and Legacy
Yuri Gagarin

Gagarin then became deputy training director of the establishment. In the process of this, he began to requalify as a fighter pilot. On March 27, 1968 he was killed in a crash of a MiG-15 on a routine training flight near Moscow together with his instructor. It is uncertain what caused the crash, but a 1986 inquest suggests that the turbulence from a Su-11 interceptor airplane using its afterburners may have caused Gagarin's plane to go out of control. Weather conditions were also poor, which probably contributed to the inability of Gagarin and the instructor to correct before they crashed. Rumor that he was drunk is incorrect — he passed two medical examinations before the flight, and postmortem tests found no evidence of alcohol or drugs in his system. A new theory, advanced by the original crash investigator in 2005, hypothesises that a cabin vent was accidentally left open by the crew or the previous pilot, thus leading to oxygen deprivation and leaving the crew incapable of controlling the aircraft [2] ( ... =352912005).

Yuri Gagarin stayed with the aircraft to steer it away from a school, thus saving the children's lives, but at the expense of having no time to eject from the aircraft. Yuri Gagarin is buried in the Kremlin wall as a Soviet hero.
Post 24 Jun 2005, 19:22
A moment of sinence, please, for the brave Yuri Gagarin.
Post 24 Jun 2005, 20:33
A selfless gesture was his final act. Remember his good deed and emulate his bravery

-Comrade RR
Post 24 Jun 2005, 21:44
Yes a brave and intellegent man indeed, we should all hold his memory.
Post 25 Jun 2005, 01:50
A hero for the world. First man in space and his dieing moments were selflessly saving the lives children in school.
Post 30 Jul 2005, 14:45
A top man! I like his atheist quote, that was something along the lines of:

I have been to the heavens and there was no God.
Post 21 Aug 2005, 16:26
Yuri Gagarin stayed with the aircraft to steer it away from a school, thus saving the children's lives, but at the expense of having no time to eject from the aircraft. Yuri Gagarin is buried in the Kremlin wall as a Soviet hero.

The Russian press reported he stayed with the aircraft to avoid it hitting a school, although this may have been apocryphal.

Its nice how you extracted the article from Wikipedia and forgot that part.

Post 21 Aug 2005, 17:11
nice one Carius, of course if you are right.
Post 14 Sep 2005, 23:56
You should capitalize the "i" and the "f

one of his best quotes is:

"When I orbited the Earth in a spaceship, I saw for the first time how beautiful our planet is. Mankind, let us preserve and increase this beauty, and not destroy it!"
Post 24 Oct 2005, 02:53
I don't think they could have picked anyone better to go into space for the first time.

The quote he said was:

"I don't see any god up here."
He radioed that back while in orbit. An amazing thing to say the first time a man goes into space, don't you think?

Another Soviet cosmonaut had this to say about god:

"I don't believe in God. I believe in man -- in his strength, his possibilities, and his reason."
-- Gherman Titov, speaking in San Francisco, quoted from Ray C. Stedman, "In The Arena"

"I am high in the sky, and still I do not see the face of god."
-- Gherman Titov
Post 07 Apr 2011, 00:27
"As a full-grown man, Gagarin was 5 foot 2 inches tall."

Gagarin was 165 cm (5 ft 5 in) - ... ource.html
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