Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin

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Yuri Gagarin
Юрий Гагарин
Yuri Gagarin Юрий Гагарин
Yuri Gagarin, the first person in space
Country: Soviet UnionSoviet Union Soviet Union
Organization: AWMF
Call sign: Кедр (Kedr - " cedar ")
selected on March 7, 1960
( 1st cosmonaut group )
Calls: 1 space flight
Begin: April 12, 1961
Landing: April 12, 1961
Time in space: 1 h 48 min
retired on March 27, 1968
(plane crash)
Space flights

Juri Alexejewitsch Gagarin ( Russian Юрий Алексеевич Гагарин ; scientific transliteration Jurij Alekse'evič Gagarin ; born March 9, 1934 in Kluschino , Smolensk Oblast , Russian SFSR , Soviet Union ; † March 27, 1968 in Novosjolovo Oblast , Soviet Union) was a Soviet cosmonaut and the first person in space .

He was a colonel in the Soviet Air Force and was named Hero of the Soviet Union .


Gagarin was born on March 9, 1934 as the son of a Russian peasant family in the village of Klushino near Gschatsk . His father Alexei Ivanovich Gagarin (1902–1973) was a carpenter in the collective farm there , his mother Anna Timofejewna Gagarina, née Matvejewa (1903–1984), was a milkmaid. He had three siblings: the brothers Valentin (1924-2006) and Boris (1936-1977) and the sister Soja (1927-2004). On September 1, 1941, he started school in the Kluschino village school. School attendance was interrupted by the Second World War and the occupation of the village on October 12, 1941 by German soldiers. Valentin and Soja were deported to Germany for forced labor in February 1943 . They returned after the war. Only after the liberation of the village by the Red Army on April 9, 1943 could school lessons be continued.

During the war there was also a formative experience: Gagarin saw a Soviet fighter pilot land near him in order to take another airplane that had crashed with him and thus save him from German captivity.

After moving to the city of Gschatsk (now Gagarin) in the summer of 1945, Gagarin attended middle school for six classes. When Soya's application for a job as a nurse failed in 1946 after she truthfully stated in a questionnaire that she had experienced occupation and imprisonment, his mother later took it as a warning. In 1949 he moved from Gschatsk to Lyubertsy , a suburb of Moscow where no one knew him, and there he completed a two-year training course at a craft school in Lyubertsy, which he completed in 1951 with the skilled worker examination as a foundryman . Subsequently, after he had wrongly declared his father to be a war invalid in his application for a university place and withholding two of his siblings, he studied at the industrial technical center in Saratow , where he received a diploma as a foundry technician in 1955.


During his studies he became a member of the aero club in Saratov and passed his first flight test on June 3, 1955. In the same year he joined the air force and was accepted into the flying school in Orenburg . On November 7, 1957, Gagarin was made a lieutenant. Also in 1957, on November 7th, he married the doctor Valentinovna Goryacheva. From 1957 to 1959 Gagarin served in a fighter regiment in the naval forces of the Northern Fleet . He was stationed in Murmansk Oblast on the Arctic Circle . Here Gagarin became a member of the CPSU . His daughter Jelena was born on April 10, 1959, on March 12, 1961, exactly one month before his space flight, his second daughter Galina, called Galja. On November 6, 1959, he was promoted to first lieutenant .

First man in space

Replica of the Vostok launcher
Gagarin's Pojechali ( Let's go )
at the start of Vostok 1
Monument on the landing site near the town of Engels
Landing capsule from Vostok 1

In 1960 Gagarin was selected as a potential cosmonaut. On March 3, he joined the group of cosmonaut candidates on the orders of the Supreme Commander of the Air Force Konstantin Andreevich Vershinin and received appropriate training from March 11, 1960 to January 1961. He was selected from the 20 possible candidates mainly because of his calm temperament. On April 12, 1961, the 1.57 m tall pilot completed his spectacular space flight with the spaceship Vostok 1 and, according to official information, orbited the earth once in 108 minutes (actually 106). He landed in the Volga region , near the cities of Saratov and Engels . Today there is a memorial on the landing site, and the anniversary of his space flight is celebrated there every year with a small celebration.

Gagarin was the commander of the Soviet cosmonaut group until 1963 and then studied at the military academy for engineers of the air force "Prof. NJ Zhukovsky ” . He was scheduled as a substitute pilot for Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov on the Soyuz 1 flight in 1967 - he was killed on the mission.


On March 27, 1968, Gagarin had an accident during a training flight with a MiG-15UTI and died. Gagarin had been appointed cosmonaut instructor in February 1968, but he wanted to finish his fighter pilot training before he took up that post. This had been interrupted because of his cosmonaut program. The MiG-15UTI was considered the USSR fighter with the lowest rate of crashes. Gagarin's flight instructor and copilot was the regimental commander and hero of the Soviet Union, Colonel Vladimir Seryogin , an experienced MiG-15 pilot with around 4,000 flight hours and war experience; he also died in the crash.

The circumstances of the crash have not yet been clarified exactly. At that time the government only let "an unfortunate chain of fateful circumstances" be announced as the cause; the investigation report was only published on the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight (almost 43 years later), but the declaration at that time was never officially corrected. There has been some speculation, legends, and conspiracy theories about the cause of the crash.

In the course of Gorbachev's perestroika policy , Gagarin's colleague Alexei Leonow , who was a member of the government commission, was given access to the investigation report into Gagarin's crash in 1985 . It turned out that a number of safety regulations had been violated, which ultimately led to the crash. In addition to Gagarin's MiG-15, four other Sukhoi interceptors were in the air on the day of the accident . One of them, identified by Leonov as the Sukhoi Su-15 , came within a few meters of Gagarin's plane. In his opinion, the Sukhoi, which was twice as fast and large, caused turbulence that caused the MiG to crash.

Leonow, who was doing parachute training with cosmonauts on the day of the crash, heard "two loud bangs in the distance" just one or two seconds apart. To his surprise, he discovered in the final report that his statement had been changed to 15 to 20 seconds apart. After the near collision, the MiG-15's altimeter only showed the real altitude with a delay and the altitude radar of the control room had also failed that day, so Gagarin and his experienced co-pilot assumed more leeway than they actually had. Leonov believes the first bang from the jet was when it breached the sound barrier and the second was from Gagarin's plane crash. Calculations showed that he would only have needed two additional seconds to stabilize the dive. Other experts such as Stepan Mikoyan, also a member of the government commission, expressed doubts that Gagarin and Serjogin's plane had stalled because of another plane. Mikoyan wrote in his memoir that evasion and / or collision with a weather balloon was the most likely cause of the crash. In March 2008, a member of the investigative commission, General Eduard Scherscher, claimed that the pilots were grossly negligent. This should not be admitted in order not to endanger their heroic status.

In April 2011, on the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight, Russia released the full Commission report dated September 4, 1968 on the crash: "He was a highly inexperienced pilot." The documents show that the commission originally concluded that either Gagarin or Serjogin had maneuvered sharply, probably to avoid a weather balloon, which brought the MiG into a "super-critical flight condition and stalled under difficult weather conditions." According to the report, the pilot could also have maneuvered sharply to "gain entry into the lowest cloud cover "to avoid.

State mourning was declared in the Soviet Union . In the history of the Soviet Union , there was previously only state mourning for heads of state who had died. Gagarin and Serjogins urns standing in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis on the Red Square in Moscow .

Gagarin was married to the doctor Valentina Ivanovna Gagarina (nee Goryacheva), with whom he had two daughters. The older daughter Jelena Jurjewna Gagarina became an art historian , while the younger Galina Jurjewna Gagarina became an economist .


Order of Hero of the Soviet Union

During the space flight, Gagarin was promoted from first lieutenant to major . After his successful landing near Saratov, Gagarin became known worldwide. He became an idol, especially in the countries of the Eastern Bloc . Numerous Gagarin biographies published in the Soviet Union contributed to this, including his autobiography The Path in the Cosmos . Since 1962 April 12th has been an official day of remembrance ( Cosmonaut Day ) in memory of Gagarin's space flight in the Soviet Union . On April 7, 2011, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared April 12 to be International Human Spaceflight Day .

The first orbit was an important and prestigious achievement in Soviet space travel during the Cold War . The American program Man In Space Soonest was unsuccessful. After the Sputnik shock , this was the second Soviet success. This enabled the USSR to demonstrate technological superiority. Gagarin received the Order of Lenin and was given the title Hero of the Soviet Union on April 14, 1961 . In the time after his landing, as a popular figure, he undertook numerous doctoral trips, during which he promoted both space exploration and the political system of the Soviet Union. These trips took Gagarin to Austria, England, India to Jawaharlal Nehru and to Cuba, where he met Fidel Castro .

Gagarin was immortalized on several Russian coins . He was awarded the Ziolkowski Medal for his services to space travel .

A crater on the back of the moon was named after him, as was the asteroid (1772) Gagarin .

A mountain range in the Antarctic was named Gagarin Mountains in his honor . He is also the namesake for the mountain Gora Gagarina .

The Soviet mineralogist A. W. Stepanov and E. A. Sewerow named in 1961 in honor of Gagarin a sodium - calcium - yttrium - fluoride with the formula NaCaYF 6 from the deposit "Verchnaya Eßpe" ( Russian Верхняя Эспе ) on the mountain Akschailjau in Tarbagatai Mountains in Kazakhstan as "Gagarinit “(Today Gagarinit- (Y) ). The cerium-dominant analogue of gagarinite- (Y), the type locality of which is located in the Strange Lake Complex on the border of the Canadian provinces of Québec and Newfoundland and Labrador , was renamed gagarinite- (Ce) in 2010.

The military academy of the air forces "JA Gagarin" in Monino bears his name.

In Belgrade, a boulevard is called "Bulevar Jurija Gagarina".

In Eilenburg, the observatory was given the name "Juri Gagarin", which is still in use today. There is also a listed bust of Gagarin.

On May 8, 1961, Zschopauer Strasse in Karl-Marx-Stadt was renamed Juri-Gagarin-Strasse; after the fall of the Wall it was renamed. In 1964, a ring road in downtown Erfurt was renamed Juri-Gagarin-Ring in honor of Gagarin, who visited the city in 1963 . There is also a Gagarin monument in Erfurt, and the facade of a residential building (renovated in 2013) shows a portrait of Gagarin. In other cities of the former GDR there are still streets named after the cosmonaut, for example in Pirna , Radeberg , Neubrandenburg , Wismar , Fürstenwalde , Gera , Potsdam , Schwerin , Schkeuditz , Cottbus and Halberstadt .

In Halle (Saale) , a steel sculpture was inaugurated on October 6, 1979, which is reminiscent of Gagarin's space flight. The monument stands on Vogelweide street, which was called Gagarinallee in GDR times. In 1975, a memorial for Gagarin was erected in Köthen by Robert Propf .

Schools and kindergartens in the GDR were also named after Yuri Gagarin. Some of them still bear his name today, for example. B. Kindergartens in Strausberg and Greiz and schools in Bad Frankenhausen , Bautzen , Brandenburg an der Havel , Zwickau , Stendal , Rostock , Stralsund and Fürstenwalde / Spree .

In 1968 the city of Gschatsk was renamed Gagarin . The training center for cosmonauts in Star City near Moscow was named Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center .

In July 1980, the futuristic Gagarin Monument was erected in Moscow in honor of Gagarin on Gagarin Square on Lenin Prospect . The 13 meter high monument by the sculptor Pawel Bondarenko is made of titanium and stands on a 38 meter high column also clad in titanium.

Gagarin's name is on the metal plate of the Fallen Astronaut , the only work of art to date on the moon.

The research vessel cosmonaut Juri Gagarin , used for satellite and rocket control, was named after him.

The Esbjörn Svensson Trio released the album From Gagarin's Point of View in 1999 .

The French musician Jean Michel Jarre published the title Hey Gagarin in 2000 .

The Continental Hockey League , founded in 2008 and the highest division in Russian ice hockey , named the championship trophy, awarded for the first time at the end of the 2008/09 season , after Yuri Gagarin.

Juri Gagarin was the name of a German electro band that existed from 2002 to 2011.


Immediately before his space flight, Gagarin had to relieve himself and did so on the rear tire of the transport bus. Since then, this “pee break” has traditionally been observed by all Russian cosmonauts on the way to the launch pad.

The locker of Gagarin in Star City was left after his death in his condition but glazed originally veneered door. It shows, among other things. a tennis racket made of wood and tennis shoes.



  • The last days of a legend. Yuri Gagarin. (OT: Les derniers jours de Youri Gagarine. ) Documentation, France, 2007, 52 min., Book: Arnaud Hamelin, director: Laurent Portes, production: Sunset Presse, synopsis by Phoenix with trailer , 3 min.
  • Gagarin, I loved you (OT: Gagarin, ya vas lyubila (Russian: Гагарин, я вас любила )) Documentation, Ukraine, 1992, 53 min., Book: Valentina Rudenko, director: Valentina Rudenko, summary by ZDF
  • First Orbit Documentation, UK, 2011, 99 min., Camera: Paolo Nespoli, director: Christopher Riley, music: Phillip Sheppard First Orbit
  • Gagarin - Race into space (OT: Gagarin: Pervyy v kosmose ) Feature film, Russia, 2013, 114 min., Book: Andrei Dmitriyev, Oleg Kapanets, director: Pavel Parkhomenko, production: Kremlin Films



  • Walter Famler , Josef Schuetzenhofer: Under the sign of the red star . On the iconographic coding of the cosmopilot Juri Gagarin. (= Culture machines prose edition ). Culture machines , Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-940274-35-9 .
  • Susanne Göhlich: Yuri flies to the stars . Moritz, Frankfurt am Main 2011, ISBN 978-3-89565-230-1 . (Picture book as homage to Juri G.)
  • Jaroslaw Golowanow: Our Gagarin . Progress, Moscow 1979. (Exemplary literature, ideological orientation).
  • Robert Kluge: The Soviet Dream of Flying . Sagner, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-87690-665-2 .
  • Gerhard Kowalski: The Gagarin story. The truth about the flight of the world's first cosmonaut . Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-89602-184-2 .
  • Gerhard Kowalski: “Today 6:07 UT” - 50 years ago: Yuri Gagarin as the first person in space. Projects Verlag Cornelius, Halle 2011, ISBN 978-3-86237-507-3 .
  • Gerhard Kowalski: The Unknown Gagarin: the last secrets of Yuri Gagarin; the final book about the world's first cosmonaut. Machwortverlag, Dessau 2015, ISBN 978-3-86761-137-4 .
  • Ludmila Pawlowa-Marinsky: Juri Gagarin Life. New life, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-355-01784-8 .
  • Matthias Schwartz, Kevin Anding, Holt Meyer (eds.): Gagarin as archive body and memory figure . Lang Edition, Frankfurt 2014, ISBN 978-3-631-63580-3 .
  • Matthias Schwartz, Gagarin, April 12, 1961 , State Center for Civic Education Thuringia, Erfurt 2019.

See also

Web links

Commons : Yuri Alexejewitsch Gagarin  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b c Gerhard Kowalski: Space history: Gagarin falsified his biography. Spiegel, February 10, 2014, accessed May 25, 2017 .
  2. Juri Gagarin's biography on whoswho.de, accessed on February 18, 2014
  3. Heinz Machatscheck: Juri Alexejewitsch Gagarin (1934–1968). In: Flieger-Jahrbuch 1981. transpress, Berlin 1980, p. 166
  4. Gerhard Kowalski: Secret documents prove: Gagarin's flight lasted only 106 minutes. www.gerhardkowalski.com, accessed April 22, 2020 .
  5. ↑ Orbiting the earth: Yuri Gagarin was faster than expected. www.volksstimme.de, July 13, 2011, accessed April 22, 2020 .
  6. ^ A b Sven Felix Kellerhoff : Secret files show how Yuri Gagarin really died. www.welt.de, April 8, 2011, accessed April 22, 2020 .
  7. Alexei Leonow, David Scott: Two Sides of the Moon . Thomas Dunne Books, New York 2004, ISBN 0-312-30865-5 , pp. 218 (American English).
  8. Alexej Leonow, David Scott, Christine Toomey: Two men in the moon. Ullstein Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-548-36827-1
  9. Stepan Anastovich Mikoyan: Мы - дети войны. dt. We - children of war. Эксмо, 2006, ISBN 5-699-18874-6
  10. Освоение космоса и авиация (Russian), accessed May 25, 2017
  11. Simone Schlindwein: Cosmonaut Jurij Gagarin: The last secret of the first man in space. In: Spiegel Online , March 26, 2008, accessed May 25, 2017
  12. Boris Reitschuster: Juri Gagarin: Crash of an Icon. www.focus.de, April 12, 2011, accessed April 22, 2020 .
  13. ^ UN Resolution A / RES / 65/271, The International Day of Human Space Flight (April 12). April 7, 2011, accessed April 12, 2012 .
  14. File: Bundesarchiv Bild 183-82864-0001, Karl-Marx-Stadt, naming Juri-Gagarin-Straße.jpg
  15. Juri Gagarin on www.halle-im-bild.de
  16. https://werkdatenbank.bbk-sachsenanhalt.de/index.php?pn=item&id=4395
  17. Detlef Wienecke-Janz (Ed.): The Chronicle. History from the 20th century to the present day . Chronicle, Gütersloh / Munich 2006, ISBN 3-577-14641-9 , p. 582 ( reading sample ).
  18. Gagarin's Locker. www.firstafricaninspace.com, accessed April 22, 2020 .
  19. Gagarin: Pervyy v kosmose on imdb.com