Yuri Gagarin

First Russian man to reach space

Why was Yuri Gagarin important?

  • On the Vostok 1, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made history on April 12, 1961 when he became both the first person in the world to enter space and the first person to orbit the Earth.
  • Gagarin was one of 20 pilots chosen for the initial Soviet space program. He was so popular among his candidates that, when they were all asked to randomly nominate who they wanted to become the first cosmonaut, all but three chose him.
  • on April 12th cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's spacecraft was launched at 9:07, orbited Earth once and landed at 10:55 in the Soviet Union.


Yuri Gagarin was born near Moscow, Russia on March 9, 1934. He died on March 27, 1968. Yuri joined the Soviet Air Force in 1955. By 1959, he was training to become a cosmonaut. On March 27, 1968, Yuri Gagarin was piloting a MiG-15 fighter jet with instructor Vladimir Seryogin on a routine training flight. An Su-15 was also flying a test, although it was scheduled to fly above Gagarin’s MiG it crashed into Yuri's fighter jet and killed him.