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Every year on 12th April, space enthusiasts across the world celebrate Yuri’s Night, a commemoration of the first human spaceflight conducted by Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961. This year was the 50th anniversary of this momentous achievement and saw a number of special events to mark the occasion.
Born in 1934, Gagarin was interested in space from a young age, and enrolled at a military pilot school when he was 21. At just 25 he was selected along with 19 others for the Soviet Space Program where he was chosen as the world’s first space traveller thanks to his attention to detail, quick reactions and mathematical brain.
On 12th April 1961, Gagarin was launched into space in the Vostok space capsule (barely larger than Gagarin himself) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He remained in space for 1 hour and 48 minutes, orbiting the Earth once before re-entering the atmosphere and landing in Russia.
Unsurprisingly, the flight made international news, and Gagarin returned to parades and celebrations in his honour. Now a global celebrity, he made visits to the UK, Germany, Brazil, ...