As Yuri A. Gagarin left the launch platform on human life’s maiden voyage into space the Soviets knew if they succeeded, the world was about to change. After all, if a man could survive in space, the universe was truly ours to behold, and explore. Space travel would actually become possible, in time of course. The minds behind the launch of the Vostok spacecraft had done quite a lot of research, and quite a lot of testing, but in reality they had no clue if a man could survive in outer space. They were trying to send a man off of Earth.
(A picture of Yuri in his Cosmonaut gear)
If anyone was qualified among the Russians for this daring, and awe inspiring venture, it was Yuri. He was a citizen that modeled the Soviet way of life, and was recorded to serve the USSR in many fields. Raised on a collective farm, he embodied the every day working class family, and serving as a pilot in the Soviet Air Force his dedication to the country, and the people, was well established. Among the 20 candidates selected for the Vostok space flight program, all but three of the candidates said that he deserved to make this first trip into space.
This mission into space opened the door, not merely into a new world, but into the universe. Yuri’s flight would eventually be recorded to have 108 minutes in space, but nonetheless, the Soviets had put a man in space. What started as a glorious victory for the USSR, putting the first man into space, would interestingly enough help ease the tensions between the USA and Russia as time passed. If the Soviets had not succeeded in this mission, the International Space Station would never have been created, and old tensions may never have been swept away. Moments before Vostok 1 left the ground Yuri was quoted with saying a simple, “let’s go.” and frankly, I can’t wait to see where we’ll go next.