March 9, 1968 – Gagarin is born

Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was born March 9th, 1934 in the village of Klushino, Russia. Gagarin was the first person to reach space on 12 April 1961. Gagarin died in a jet-plane accident March 27, 1968.

Wikipedia says:

“In 1960, after an extensive search and selection process Yuri Gagarin was selected with 19 other cosmonauts for the Soviet space program. Along with the other prospective cosmonauts, he was subjected to a rigorous series of experiments designed to test his physical and psychological endurance; he also underwent intensive training for the upcoming flight. Out of the twenty selected, the eventual choices for the first launch were Gagarin and Gherman Titov because of their excellent performance in training, as well as their physical characteristics — space was at a premium in the small Vostok cockpit and both men were rather short. Gagarin’s last-minute assignment, approved at the highest levels of the CPSU, to take the historic flight, may have been due to Gagarin’s modest upbringing and genial, outgoing personality, as opposed to the middle-class and somewhat aloof demeanor of Titov. Soviet officials weighed other factors as well in selecting Yuri: his appearance, his capacity to handle media attention, his Russian heritage and even the name “Gagarin,” which was also a family name associated with Tsarist aristocracy.”

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~ by tellinghistory on March 9, 2007.

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