The following webpages is a booklet published by Novosti Press Agency Publishing House,
Moskow 1977. Since this booklet is no longer available on any open market that we
know of, we hope that we're not violating any copyright limitations when
we choose to publish the entire publication.
This booklet is a brief account of the eventful life of the brilliant
young soviet spaceman, Yuri Gagarin-the world's first cosmonaut.
On 12 April, 1961, the first manned spaceship left our planet from the
Baikonur cosmodrome in the Soviet Union. This was the beginning, the
blazing of a trail which has now become a road to the cosmos. One after
another, spaceships are leaving earth for the wide expanses of the
universe. Today, space pilots live and work for months aboard space
stations, they fly to the moon; and Soviet and American spacemen have
accomplished a joint experimental flight.
In the near future, perhaps, earthmen will go still further,
journeying to other planets and universes. But alongside the names of these
future explorers there will always rand the name of the first Soviet
cosmonaut, for Yuri Gagarin's 108-minute flight in space represented not
only a triumph of science and engineering, but also a bursting of the
"bounds of possibility", the breaking of a psychological barrier. It was
literally a flight into the unknown.
Being a pilot, he had flown many demanding assignments, including
flights at night and in blizzard conditions, and at home they would wait
anxiously for his familiar step. Even so, he was never very far from the
earth. But now... He had gone out into the unknown where no man gad ever
been before. Valentina, his wife, well understood all that this entailed
but had agreed. And this, too, was an act of heroism for the mother of two
...From Zvyozdny Gorodok (Star Town), Yuri had flown to the
cosmodrome. It was quiet at his home. The children were asleep. The sky,
washed by recent rain, was studded with stars. The night seemed to be
waiting for something. The wet pines stood motionless, and the houses
merged together in the stillness and bluish darkness. In only one of them
shone a yellow rectangle of light...
"Am I happy to be setting off on a cosmic flight?" said Yuri Gagarin
in an interview before the start. "Of course. In all ages and epochs people
have experienced the greatest happiness in embarking upon new voyages of
discovery... I want to dedicate this first cosmic flight to the people of
communism-the society which the Soviet people are now already entering
upon... I say 'until we meet again' to you , dear friends, as we always say
to each other when setting off on a long journey. How I should like to
embrace you all-my friends and those with whom I am not acquainted,
strangers and the people nearest and dearest to me!"