First Man in Space – April 12, 1961

Yuri GargarinCertainly a milestone in human exploration worth noting. Yuri Gagarin: First Man in Space

Yuri Gagarin was a 27-year-old fighter pilot in the USSR Air Force, when he made a 108 minute orbital flight in the Vostok 1 spacecraft.

A month later Alan Shepard would make a suborbital flight to be “The First American in Space.” (Such distinctions were important to people during the Cold War, though ignoring the Soviet’s accomplishments seems petty at this distance.)

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was born March 9th, 1934 in Klushino, Russia. He died at the age of 34 on March 27th, 1968 when his fighter jet crashed.

There is a statue of Gagarin in London, near Admiralty Arch.