To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before
This day in history marked a huge step forward in man’s quest to reach the moon. The world looked on in wonder as Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to journey into outer space. Taking off in the Vostok 1 spacecraft, Gagarin orbited the earth for 108 minutes. Upon re-entry, he ejected from the rocket and parachuted 7,000 metres down to Russia. Upon landing, he was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union (for his role in vaulting Russia ahead of the U.S. in the highly contested space race) and became an international celebrity and media darling. Drinking and affairs took a toll on his personal life, as he never quite came to grips with his newfound fame and notoriety. A pilot to the end, Gagarin died in 1968 when he crashed his MiG 15 training jet.