Yuri Gagarin was the pilot of Vostok 1 and the first man in space to orbit the earth. He was born near Moscow on 9th March 1934 in the former Soviet Union.
He joined the Soviet Air Force in 1955 and was training to become a cosmonaut by 1959. It was on 12th April 1961 that Yuri Gagarin blasted off into space on Vostok 1.
Vostok 1 was a craft that was split into two parts. The first was the compartment where Yuri Gagarin sat and operated the controls of the spacecraft. The other section was filled with supplies such as oxygen and water.
Vostok 1 travelled at a speed of 27,400 kph whilst it circled the earth. The flight lasted 108 minutes. When it came to re-entry, Vostok 1 was controlled by a computer. Yuri Gagarin didn’t land in Vostok 1,instead he ejected from the spacecraft and parachuted down to earth again.
This was Yuri Gagarin’s only venture into space. He was killed in a plane crash on 27th March 1968.
There is a crater on the far side of the moon that is named for Yuri Gagarin.