Gagarin Becomes the First Human to Orbit Earth (Great Events from History II: Science and Technology Series)
Article abstract: Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth, furthering the efforts of space exploration by the Soviet Union.
Summary of Event
Yuri A. Gagarin, born in Gzhatsk in the Smolensk Region of the Soviet Union, studied at the Saratov flight school, and eventually joined the Soviet Air Force in 1956. In 1959, Gagarin volunteered to be a cosmonaut, before a call was made for Air Force test pilots between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five to volunteer. The initial screening for cosmonauts was made in October of 1959. Gagarin was chosen as one of the first twenty cosmonaut candidates on his twenty-sixth birthday. Not even his wife Valentina was allowed to know of the highly secretive project.
On March 14, 1960, the cosmonauts went into training. They were, at first, housed in a building at Khodynskoye Field at the Frunze Central Airfield. Lectures began with aviation medicine, but the twenty cosmonauts soon began to lose interest, and discussions were added on spacecraft design and orbital theory. Only six of the candidates were chosen for physical training, because of the limited training space and equipment. These men underwent survival training, jet flight piloting, parachuting, centrifuge and isolation chamber training, physical fitness exercises, and education in spacecraft design and function.
On April 3, 1959, official approval was given for a manned launch. Two men had been...
(The entire section is 2008 words.)
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