OTD In Space – April 12: Yuri Gagarin Becomes 1st Human In Space

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On April 12, 1961, a human went to space for the first time! Yuri Gagarin was the first Soviet cosmonaut and the first person to orbit the Earth. This was the Soviet Union's next big move in the "space race" after it launched the first satellite, Sputnik, in 1957. His mission was called Vostok 1, and it involved both a Vostok rocket and Vostok space capsule. He lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and reached an altitude of about 200 miles. He orbited the Earth one time before his reentry module separated and fell to Earth. Gagarin ejected himself from the spacecraft and safely parachuted down to Earth. Both he and his spacecraft touched down some 1,700 miles west of the planned landing site.