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Let’s Go, Yuri

Cosmonautics Day is celebrated on April 12 each year in Russia. It is a holiday dedicated to the first manned space flight in 1961, when Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth on board the Vostok-1 spaceship.


The first flight lasted only 108 minutes, but it became a breakthrough in the history of space exploration. Photo: Yuri Gagarin in the cabin of Vostok-1
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The first flight lasted only 108 minutes, but it became a breakthrough in the history of space exploration. Photo: Yuri Gagarin in the cabin of Vostok-1

The spaceship was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
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The spaceship was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Vostok-1 with Gagarin onboard blasting off.
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Vostok-1 with Gagarin onboard blasting off.

After having traveled once around the Earth, the spaceship made a soft landing in the Saratov region of central Russia. A few kilometers above the surface, Gagarin ejected and parachuted to Earth.
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After having traveled once around the Earth, the spaceship made a soft landing in the Saratov region of central Russia. A few kilometers above the surface, Gagarin ejected and parachuted to Earth.

Before the manned flight of 1961, Soviet scientists sent a few animals to the orbit. The first successful return was made by two dogs, Belka and Strelka. The total number of dogs that have been to space is 48, of which 20 didn’t survive.
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Before the manned flight of 1961, Soviet scientists sent a few animals to the orbit. The first successful return was made by two dogs, Belka and Strelka. The total number of dogs that have been to space is 48, of which 20 didn’t survive.

Soviet astronauts (left to right): Vladimir Komarov, Aleksei Leonov, Yuri Gagarin, Gherman Titov, Valentina Tereshkova, Valery Bykovsky, Andrian Nikolayev, Boris Yegorov, Konstantin Feoktistov, Pavel Popovich, Pavel Belyayev.
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Soviet astronauts (left to right): Vladimir Komarov, Aleksei Leonov, Yuri Gagarin, Gherman Titov, Valentina Tereshkova, Valery Bykovsky, Andrian Nikolayev, Boris Yegorov, Konstantin Feoktistov, Pavel Popovich, Pavel Belyayev.

Upon returning to the Earth, Yuri Gagarin was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and became an essential part of the global history.
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Upon returning to the Earth, Yuri Gagarin was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and became an essential part of the global history.

In 2016, an installation featuring Gagarin's famous quote of “Let’s go!” during liftoff was constructed in the Gorky Park in Moscow.
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In 2016, an installation featuring Gagarin's famous quote of “Let’s go!” during liftoff was constructed in the Gorky Park in Moscow.

To commemorate the 55th anniversary of the first manned space flight, Russian activists Aleksei Busarov and Oleg Butsky drew a huge portrait of Gagarin on the ice of a frozen lake. To do that, they used satellite navigation equipment and spades.
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To commemorate the 55th anniversary of the first manned space flight, Russian activists Aleksei Busarov and Oleg Butsky drew a huge portrait of Gagarin on the ice of a frozen lake. To do that, they used satellite navigation equipment and spades.

In 2015, Cosmonautics Day coincided with the Orthodox Easter. A Perm-based artist, Aleksandr Zhunev, depicted Gagarin crucified to mark the coincidence. He explained this gesture by saying that science and religion had been in opposition to each other, but now science had started to lose out in public opinion. 
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In 2015, Cosmonautics Day coincided with the Orthodox Easter. A Perm-based artist, Aleksandr Zhunev, depicted Gagarin crucified to mark the coincidence. He explained this gesture by saying that science and religion had been in opposition to each other, but now science had started to lose out in public opinion. 

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