|Space Travel 101: Fundamentals of Space Travel|
This Russian mission was the first manned spaceflight in history. Yuri Gagarin orbited earth and safely returned back to Earth as planned.
Vostok 1 was the first manned spaceflight. Launched by Russia on April 12, 1961 , Vostok 1 brought the first human being into space: Yuri Gagarin. “I see Earth! It's so beautiful!” were the first words spoken in space.
At the age of twenty-seven, Yuri Gagarin also became the first human to orbit Earth. He traveled at approximately 27,400 kilometers per hour, and remained in flight for 1 hour and 48 minutes. Gagarin did not direct the spacecraft as it began to orbit the Earth. Reentry was also computer-controlled, because the effects of spaceflight on humans were still unknown. If an emergency arose, Gagarin could have taken control. However, everything ran smoothly, and Gagarin safely returned to Earth. As planned, he parachuted to the ground at approximately 7 kilometers from the Earth instead of landing in his spacecraft, because a safe landing had not been developed for the spacecraft.
The first beings to see his return to Earth were an old woman, her granddaughter, and a cow. Gagarin's flight made headline news around the world, and he received the title Hero of the Soviet Union.