Cite
 

Gagarin, Yuri Alekseyevich

Gagarin, Yuri Alekseyevich yo͞o´rē əlyĭksyā´yəvĭch gägä´rĭn [key], 1934–68, Russian astronaut (cosmonaut), b. near Gzhatsk, RSFSR. He was the first in history to be rocketed into orbital space flight. His flight on Apr. 12, 1961, lasted 1 hr. 48 min. and circled the earth once. The vehicle in which he traveled, named the Vostok [East], weighed over five tons it reached a maximum altitude of 188 mi (303 km). All control over the spacecraft was handled from the ground, the pilot's reactions being carefully recorded. The success of this flight may be said to have opened the modern era of man in space. Gagarin was killed when a plane he was testing crashed.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Space Exploration: Biographies

Browse by Subject

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.