Yuri Gagarin — a Modern Columbus
April 12, 1961 will never be forgotten. On that day Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin was launched into space. He circled the globe in the spaceship "Vostok" for 108 minutes. Gagarin was taking an enormous risk, because at that time nobody knew how a human being would stand up to space flight. Before Yuri Gagarin was launched into outer space he met the people who had prepared the rocket. He thanked them for their work and said he would do everything he could to make his flight successful.
Yuri was in great spirits. The cosmonauts spent the evening at a cottage which is now called the Yuri Gagarin Memorial Cottage. Then he had one more normal working day which was worked out to the minute: morning exercises, breakfast, medical examination, putting on the spacesuit, checking the suit, leaving for the launching site and so on.
Yuri Gagarin's flight opened the door into the Universe Those 108 minutes were a turning-point in history. The dreams of generations, the ideas of science-fiction writers and thinkers were brilliantly realised by our contemporaries. Yuri Gagarin's name has become a legend, a symbol of heroism in the name of science and progress.
Yuri Gagarin visited 30 countries. Everywhere he was given a fantastic welcome as the dearest person. He was the same modest man with workers or generals, with employees or with kings and prime ministers.
His life was simple like thousands of others: schoolboy, vocational school student, fighter pilot, husband, father of two children. He was a part of our whole life. But the words "Gagarin character" have become a symbol of will-power, fearlessness, purity.