Published 25 Oct 2017
Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space. He was born in the Soviet Union. I choose this man for my research because I am interested in the history of the space exploration. I am going to research the story of the first cosmonaut’s life, what background he had and what contributed to his achievement, what difficulties he had to face and how he coped with the burden of fame.
First I am going to learn where Gagarin was born and what education he had obtained. I am also interested in the reasons that influenced his decision to become a pilot and then a cosmonaut. It would be interesting to know whether he had undergone special trainings or tests to become a cosmonaut. I also would like to know some interesting information about his life which may help me to understand what kind of person Gagarin was. And finally I want to find out whether there is something common between Gagarin’s childhood and mine and what his features I have to follow to achieve success.
Yuri Gagarin was born in village of Klushino near the town of Gzhatsk, Smolensk Region, Russia, on March 9, 1934. When he was fifteen he entered a vocational school and learned to be a metalworker. In two years as the best student he was sent to continue his study to Saratov high technical school. While studying there, he joined the “AeroClub,” where he trained to fly an aircraft. This hobby predetermined his future career. Gagarin decided to devote his life to aviation. In 1955 he enrolled into the Russian Air Force and two years later graduated with honors from the Soviet Air Force Academy. In 1959 Gagarin participated in the competitive selection to the group of test-pilots to test new and experimental aircraft. In 1960 he began his preparation to the flight into space. He took special training with the group of other 20 pilots. In the course of that training he took part in a series of experiments designed to test his physical and psychological endurance and readiness to the upcoming flight. So after thorough preparations and trainings Gagarin became the first human to travel into space in the vessel Vostok 3KA-2 on April 12, 1961. The flight lasted 108 minutes and ended successfully.
For this accomplishment Gagarin was awarded the medal and official title “Hero of the Soviet Union”. The success of Gagarin’s first flight has started the modern era of man in space. After that even Gagarin became a world-known person, a lot of famous people arranged meetings with him. It was not easy to be the first cosmonaut in the world. Gagarin was constantly invited to different celebrations. The fame was difficult test to withstand and finally it turned into the troubles with alcoholism. Nevertheless, Gagarin managed to get accustomed to his fame and pull himself together. Another struggle Gagarin had to fight was living in totalitarian regime. Despite the strict limits within which people lived in the USSR Gagarin had courage to express his discontent to the country leaders. There was a case when he threw a drink in Brezhnev’s face after he had known that Brezhnev consciously had sent the pilot, Gagarin’s friend, to fly in a damaged spacecraft. The pilot was killed after the spacecraft crash.
Comparing my childhood to that of Yuri Gagarin there are not much in common. Unlike Gagarin I am not keen of flying and aircrafts. The only thing we share is that my father is a military man just the same as was his. But I have grown up on military bases while Gagarin spent his childhood on collective farm. So I guess his life was more difficult that mine is; therefore he had to make great efforts to reach his aims and so he did.
As a person, Yuri Gagarin was quite a modest and open-minded man. I think exactly these traces helped him to cope with a sudden fame that came upon him and not to become arrogant. I think that living in the totalitarian country and having courage to adhere to human principles is a great struggle which Gagarin succeeded to overcome. The story of Gagarin’s life is the example of that one should not be afraid to be the first in some new things. Though you may not have the experience but the desire and persistence help to reach the aim and success.
- Hall, Rex D., Shayler, David J., Vis, Bert. Russia’s Cosmonauts. Inside the Yuri Gagarin Training Center. UK: Praxis Publishing, 2005
- Polfeldt, David Article about Gagarin Retrieved from http://kosmonaut.se/gagarin/article.html
- The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Columbia University Press: Copyright 2001-05