We are celebrating the 56th anniversary of the death of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin

Published on March 27, 2024 by Il Grido del Popolo©️

“I looked and looked but I didn’t see God.”

-Yuri Gagarin

(Speaking about, in 1961, becoming the first human to enter space.)

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut who, aboard the first successful crewed spaceflight, became the first human to journey into outer space. Travelling on Vostok 1, Gagarin completed one orbit of Earth on 12 April 1961, with his flight taking 108 minutes. By achieving this major milestone for the Soviet Union amidst the Space Race, he became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including the nation’s highest distinction: Hero of the Soviet Union.

Gagarin’s flight was a triumph for the Soviet space programme and he became a national hero of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc, as well as a worldwide celebrity. Newspapers around the globe published his biography and details of his flight. He was escorted in a long motorcade of high-ranking officials through the streets of Moscow to the Kremlin where, in a lavish ceremony, Nikita Khrushchev awarded him the title Hero of the Soviet Union. Other cities in the Soviet Union also held mass demonstrations, the scale of which were second only to the World War II Victory Parades.

In 1962, Gagarin began serving as a deputy to the Soviet of the Union, and was elected to the Central Committee of the Young Communist League. He later returned to Star City, the cosmonaut facility, where he spent several years working on designs for a reusable spacecraft. He became a lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Forces on 12 June 1962, and received the rank of colonel on 6 November 1963. On 20 December, Gagarin became Deputy Training Director of the cosmonaut training facility. On 27 March 1968, while on a routine training flight from Chkalovsky air base, Gagarin and flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin died when their MiG-15UTI crashed near the town of Kirzhach. The bodies of Gagarin and Seryogin were cremated and their ashes interred in the walls of the Kremlin.