In the spring of 1955, Gagarin graduated as a foundryman-technician, and also received his ground school diploma from a nearby
flying school. He graduated two years later as a pilot, first-class. He then joined the Soviet Air Force and served as a fighter-pilot.
In 1959, Lieutenant Gagarin applied for admission to the astronaut training group. On his 26th birthday he was transferred
to the cosmonaut team.
Gagarin became the first man in space on 12 April 1961. The fiight, on-board Vostok 1, lasted
1 hour and 48 minutes. He completed 1 orbit of the Earth. NASA astronauts didn't complete an orbit until their third flight.
The controls on Vostock 1 were locked to prevent Gagarin from taking control. There was, however, a key available in a
sealed envelope in case of emergency. His description of the Earth was, "the sky looks very, very dark and the Earth
It is reported that Gagarin experienced 10g's on re-entry with the temperature on the outside reaching
It appears that sometime after his historic flight, Yuri lost his flight status. He began flying again
under supervision in early March 1968. On March 27, he and Colonel Vladimir Seryogin took off in a Mig 15 at 10.19 AM. Several
minutes later a request to change course was requested and granted. Nothing more was heard from them. The Mig's smoking wreckage
was found later with the chronometer stopped at 10.31.
It was revealed in 1984 that his body was never found.
short but historic life.