HIS LIFE IN PICTURES
studying flyng, he learned parachuting, a skill that would later
save his life when it was time for him to eject from the Vostok
1 capsule upon it's re-entry. On his first jump, he clung to the
fuselage as the other young men and women waited their turn with
his teacher shouting, "Don't dither, Yuri, the girls are watching!"
Soon after he took his first ride in a Yak-18 fighter plane. "That
first flight filled me with pride and gave meaning to my whole life."
He would spend the summer flying and living in a tent next to an
airfield outside Moscow.
Yuri trains in parachuting, a skill
that would later save his life when
it was time to eject from Vostok 1.
cut a fine figure as a pilot.
the advice of Martyanov he joined the Soviet Air Force and went
to Orenburg Aviation School where he learned to fly MIGs. While
at Orenburg attending a dance held at the school, he met the lovely
and shy Valentina Ivanovna Goryacheva.
a nursing student, was the youngest of six children. She would comment
to her mother, "He has sharpened his teeth on the granite of science.
He═s been going to school all his life." Together they enjoyed reading
and frequenting the theater and especially discussing what they
had seen and read. They shared the news of Sputnik's historical
flight and of Nikita Khrushchev's announcement of sending a man
to space as soon as conditions were right. From moment he learned
about Sputnik, Gagarin secretly knew he would join the space program
and even began sketching his ideas for spaceships. He had studied
Tsiolkovsky═s theories on space flight.
and Valya were much in love
and married the day he graduated.
1957 Lieutenant Gagarin
graduated with top honors from
Orenburg Aviation School.
November 1957, at the age of 23, Yuri graduated with top-ranking honors
from Orenburg and became a lieutenant in the Soviet Air Force. It
was also on this day in his new officer's greatcoat that he married
his beautiful Valya. Later, cosmonaut team leader Karpov would say,
"Yuri felt calm, confident, cheerful, and optimistic. Valya is wonderful!
In helping Yuri get ready to leave, and in seeing him off, she displayed
extraordinary self-control and courage ▄ like a genuine cosmonaut's
first post as a fighter pilot was at a Soviet Air Force base in
the arctic, where his first flights were made in the light of the
aurora borealis. While he was stationed there, the Soviets launched
Luna-3, which photographed the far side of the moon for the first
time. It was 1959.
mustn't delay any longer. A manned space flight will be made before
enjoyed being a father.
He was gregarious and loving.
clowns around with
Lenochka to Valya's delight.
submitted his request to be considered for cosmonaut training, and,
of course he was approved. He and Valya and their beautiful daughter
Lenochka moved to Star Town built just for the cosmonauts outside
The Russian State
Archive of Scientific & Technical Documents.