60 years since Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space
This year we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the first human space flight in history. On 12 April 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth aboard spacecraft “Vostok 1”. The flight lasted 108 minutes from launch to landing.
Ever since the USSR had put the first satellite “Sputnik 1” into orbit on 4 October 1957, manned space flight was the next major milestone in the exploration of outer space. Gagarin’s feat became a world sensation. In the USSR he was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union. All mass media around the world gave his flight front-page coverage, radio stations were broadcasting reports about this remarkable event non-stop.
Later on, in 1961-1965, Yuri Gagarin made a world tour which is sometimes referred to as the Peace Mission. Advocating global peace and cooperation, he visited 26 countries from Iceland to Japan, where he met with heads of state, including Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, politicians, artists and ordinary people.
Being the first human to see the Earth from space Yuri Gagarin wrote: "Having orbited Earth in a spacecraft, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!"