Most people think of Neil Armstrong or Sally Ride when they think of pioneering astronauts, but have you ever really stopped to ponder who actually was the first into space? Once you learn who the first into the depths of the unknown was , wouldn’t you like to know what happened to him”¦or her?
The first person in space and the first to actually orbit the Earth was a man named Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, who would later receive a host of medals and accolades for his efforts. Known as the “Hero of the Soviet Union,” Gagarin was a Russian cosmonaut, who began his life in a village called Klushino. His parents worked on a collective farm and were often classified in official reports as being “peasants.” Gagarin was able to overcome the obstacles that World War II posed, including two of his older siblings being removed from the household to work as slave laborers in Germany.
During his youth, Gargarin became interested in astronomy and the planets, often spending time dreaming about space. As a student, he was described as a hard-working pupil with a hint of mischief. At this time, he would meet an influential teacher , his math and science professor, who had flown in the Soviet Air Forces during the war. He made quite an impressive on the youthful Gagarin, who would later become selected to receive further training at a technical high school. It was here that he would join the “AeroClub” and learn how to fly a light aircraft. Flying would soon consume a large chunk of his time.
In 1955, Gagarin finished his technical studies and then decided to enter the military flight-training program at Orenburg Pilot’s School. This is where he met Valentina Goryacheva (whom he made his wide in 1957). His marriage took place after he earned his pilot’s wings in a MiG-15. Upon graduation, he was assigned to an airbase situated near a Norwegian border. The weather in this region was rather risky, but Gagarin actually had an advantage , he stood at 5 foot 2 inches tall and was able to comfortably maneuver within the small Vostok cockpit.
The Soviet Space Program
In 1960, Gagarin became a lucky pilot who suffered an intense search and selection process of the Soviet Space Program. Alongside 19 other cosmonauts, he entered the space program, where he underwent a grueling selection of experiments designed to stretch the body and mind to its limits of endurance. He was also being trained for an upcoming flight. Due to excellent training performance, Gagarin (along with Gherman Titov) was selected for the first launch into space. The two pilots were also chosen because their physical attributes would prove beneficial within the small Vostok cockpit.
In the end, Gagarin was the final candidate because he also possessed a modest upbringing and outgoing personality. His overall appearance was also a plus, as he seemed to carry a capacity to handle media attention. His Russian heritage was also strong and helped solidify his position for the first launch.
To find out what happened on his first mission and what happened thereafter, check out the article titled, ” Who Was the First Astronaut Into Space? Part 2.”