YURI GAGARIN Biography - Pioneers, Explorers & inventors


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Name: Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin                                                       
Born: 9 March 1934                                                                   
Died: 27 March 1968                                                                   
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, (Russian  9 March 1934 - 27 March 1968),                   
Hero of the Soviet Union, was a Soviet cosmonaut. On 12 April 1961,                   
he became the first person in space and the first to orbit the Earth. He             
received many medals from different countries for his pioneering tour in space.       
Yuri Gagarin was born in the village of Klushino near Gzhatsk (now in Smolensk       
Oblast, Russia), on 9 March 1934. The adjacent town of Gzhatsk was renamed           
Gagarin in 1968 in his honour. His parents, father Alexei Ivanovich Gagarin and       
mother Anna Timofeevna Gagarina, worked on a collective farm.While manual             
laborers are described in official reports as "peasants", this may be an             
oversimplification if applied to his parents  his mother was reportedly an           
edacious reader, and his father a skilled carpenter. Yuri was the third of four       
children, and his elder sister helped raise him while his parents worked. Like       
millions of people in the Soviet Union, the Gagarin family suffered great             
hardship in World War II. His two elder siblings were "taken away" to Germany as     
slave laborers in 1943, and did not return until after the war. While a youth,       
Yuri became interested in space and planets, and began to dream about his space       
tour which became true one day. Yuri was described by his teachers in the             
Moscow satellite town of Lyubertsy as intelligent and hard-working, if               
occasionally mischievous. His mathematics and science teacher had flown in the       
Soviet Air Forces during the war, which presumably made some substantial             
impression on young Gagarin.                                                         
After starting an apprenticeship in a metalworks as a foundryman, Gagarin was         
selected for further training at a technical high school in Saratov. While there,     
he joined the "AeroClub", and learned to fly a light aircraft, a hobby that           
would take up an increasing proportion of his time. Through dint of effort,           
rather than brilliance, he reportedly mastered both; in 1955, after completing       
his technical schooling, he entered military flight training at the Orenburg         
Pilot's School. While there he met Valentina Goryacheva, whom he married in 1957,     
after gaining his pilot's wings in a MiG-15. Post-graduation, he was assigned to     
Luostari airbase in Murmansk Oblast, close to the Norwegian border, where             
terrible weather made flying risky. As a full-grown man, Gagarin was 5 ft 2 in (1.57 
m) tall, which was an advantage in the small Vostok cockpit.