April 12, 1961 will never be forgotten. On that day Yuri
Alexeyevich Gagarin was launched into space. He circled the
globe in the spaceship "Vostok" for 108 minutes. Gagarin
was taking an enormous risk, because at that time nobody
knew how a human being would stand up to space flight.
Before Yuri Gagarin was launched into outer space he met
the people who had prepared the rocket. He thanked them for
their work and said he would do everything he could to make
his flight successful. Yuri was in great spirits. The cosmonauts
spent the evening at a cottage which is now called the Yuri
Gagarin Memorial Cottage. Then he had one more normal
working day which was worked out to the minute: morning
exercises, breakfast, medical examination, putting on the
spacesuit, checking the suit, leaving for the launching site
and so on.
Yuri Gagarin's flight opened the door into the Universe
Those 108 minutes were a turning-point in history. The dreams
of generations, the ideas of science-fiction writers and thinkers
were brilliantly realised by our contemporaries. Yuri Gagarin's
name has become a legend, a symbol of heroism in the name of
science and progress.
Yuri Gagarin visited 30 countries. Everywhere he was given
a fantastic welcome as the dearest person. He was the same
modest man with workers or generals, with employees or with
kings and prime ministers.
His life was simple like thousands of others: schoolboy,
vocational school student, fighter pilot, husband, father of
two children. He was a part of our whole life. But the words
"Gagarin character" have become a symbol of will-power,
Gagarin's "space" biography began at a lecture about the
work of Tsiolkovsky. Then, he fell ill with a disease that has
no name in medicine: an irresistible desire to go up into the
sky, a desire to fly.
The Saratov Air Club, the Orenburg Air Pilots School,
service in Air Force units in the North, and the Cosmonaut
Graining Centre in 1960. The dawn of the space age was
breaking over the planet.
The first group was made up of strong young men,
professional airmen, clever, purposeful, prepared to take risks
and work hard. Why did the choice fall on him? " Yuri Gagarin",
said E. A. Karpov, one of the instructors of the first group of
cosmonauts, "possessed all the important qualifications: devoted
patriotism, complete faith in the success of the flight, excellent
health, optimism, a quick mind, courage and resolution, selfcontrol, orderliness, industriousness, simplicity, modesty, great human warmth and attentiveness to others".
Yuri Gagarin was deeply engaged in public and political
activity, but he could not stand aside from training his friends
for new flights. He gave all his knowledge and enthusiasm to
the preparation for each new flight. He taught others and
studied himself. He dreamed of the time when spaceships
would undertake interplanetary flights and he would be on
board of them. For the sake of this dream Yuri Gagarin
worked and lived.
On March 27, 1968, Yuri Gagarin was killed in an air
crash. He was 34. On that day we lost a man of remarkable
courage and spiritual beauty.
It was impossible to say what a man's life would have been
like if he remained alive. Gagarin had talent. He put his whole
soul, all his strength into "cosmic work".
His name will remain immortal in the history of mankind,
in the history of the Earth, which he affectionately called the
1. Why will April 2, 1961 never be forgotten?
2. What did Yuri Gagarin's flight open?
3. Whose ideas were brilliantly realised?
4. When did Gagarin's "space" biography begin?
5. Why did the choice fall on him?
6. How did Gagarin die?
enormous — огромный
to take a risk — рисковать
contemporary — современник
to fall ill — заболеть
irresistible — непреодолимый
to be on board — быть на борту
immortal — бессмертный