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12th of April 1961

Although this is an aviation blog, the events of the 12th of April 1961 warrant a little step into space. They don't call it "Aerospace" for nothing! 60 years ago to date man left the earth's atmosphere for the first time and entered the realm of space flight with the Vostok 1 mission

At 06:07 UTC the Vostok 3KA-3 capsule lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Strapped in the tiny capsule was Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin.

Born on the 9th of March 1934 in the village of Klushino, Gagarin was accepted to the Forst Chkalovsky Higeht Airforce Pilots School.

Flying aircraft like the Yak-18 and the MIG-15 he went solo in 1957.

In late 1959 he was interviewed by a medical commission to determine if he was suitable for the progam.

He was 1 of the 20 men that were possible candidates for the mission. When this group of 20 men was asked to (anonymously) vote for their favourite peer, all but three voted for Gagarin! The group of 2o was brought down to 6, the "Sochi Six", and ultimately Gagarin was chosen.

And on the 12th of April 1961 countdown reached zero and the rocket lifted of

After launch, the rocket reached an orbit, which at its lowest point was 91 nm (169 km) above the earth's surface. After a single orbit, the spacecraft re-entered the atmosphere, and 108 minutes after liftoff Gagarin was back on earth after touching down in the Saratov region.

The trajectory of Gagarin's flight

More details on Yuri Gagarin his flight into space can be found here and a minute to minute log of the flight can be found here

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