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|COLONEL YURI GAGARIN|
Born: March 9, 1934 in Klushino / Smolensk Oblast / Russia
Died: March 27, 1968 in Novoselovo / Vladimir Oblast / Russia
Colonel Yuri A. Gagarin was born on a collective farm in
a region west of Moscow, Russia on March 9, 1934. His father was a carpenter.
Yuri attended the local school for six years and continued his education at
vocational and technical schools.
Yuri Gagarin joined the Russian Air Force in 1955 and
graduated with honors from the Soviet Air Force Academy in 1957. Soon afterward,
he became a military fighter pilot. By 1959, he had been selected for cosmonaut
training as part of the first group of USSR cosmonauts.
Yuri Gagarin flew only one space mission. On April 12,
1961 he became the first human to orbit Earth. Gagarin's spacecraft, Vostok 1,
circled Earth at a speed of 27,400 kilometers per hour. The flight lasted 108
minutes. At the highest point, Gagarin was about 327 kilometers above Earth.
Once in orbit, Yuri Gagarin had no control over his
spacecraft. Vostok's reentry was controlled by a computer program sending radio
commands to the space capsule. Although the controls were locked, a key had been
placed in a sealed envelope in case an emergency situation made it necessary for
Gagarin to take control. As was planned, Cosmonaut Gagarin ejected after reentry
into Earth's atmosphere and landed by parachute.
Colonel Yuri Gagarin died on March 27, 1968 when the
MiG-15 he was piloting crashed near Moscow. At the time of his death, Yuri
Gagarin was in training for a second space mission.
GENERAL GHERMAN TITOV
Born: September 11, 1935 in Altai Krai, Russian SFSR
Died: September 20, 2000 in Moscow, Russia
Gherman Stepanovich Titov (11 September 1935 – 20
September 2000) was a Soviet cosmonaut who, on 6 August 1961, became the second
human to orbit the Earth aboard Vostok 2, preceded by Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1.
Titov was the fourth man in space after Gagarin and Americans Alan Shepard and
Gus Grissom (the latter two made suborbital voyages).
flight finally proved that humans could live and work in space. He was the first
person to orbit the Earth multiple times (a total of 17), to spend more than a
day in space, to sleep in orbit and to suffer from space sickness. He was the
first to pilot a spaceship personally and he made the first manual photographs
from orbit, thus setting a record for modern space photography. A month short of
26 years old at launch, he remains the youngest person to fly in
In his subsequent life Titov continued to work for the
Soviet space program, playing a major role in Spiral project where he trained to
become the first pilot of an orbital spaceplane. However, after the death of
Yuri Gagarin in a military aircraft accident in 1968 the Soviet government
decided it couldn't afford to lose its second cosmonaut, and so Titov's career
as test pilot ended.
Titov served in the Soviet Air Force and become
General-Colonel, and in his final years in post-Soviet Russia he became a
2009 Cosmonaut (Other), 2005 Conquering Space: The Moon and Beyond (Other), 1998 Cold War (in person), 1961 Unser Sandmännchen (in person)