Gagarin and Titov, Vostok 1 launch, 1961

Gagarin and Titov, Vostok 1 launch, 1961

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Credit: SPUTNIK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Gagarin and Titov before Vostok 1 launch. Soviet cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968) and Gherman Titov (1935-2000) in their flight suits and helmets, in a bus heading toward the Vostok 1 launch site in Kazakhstan, USSR, on 12 April 1961. Gagarin was soon to become famous as the first man in space. He was launched in the Vostok 1 spacecraft and spent 1 hour and 48 minutes in Earth orbit. He became famous worldwide, and was made a Hero of the Soviet Union. He died in 1968 when the fighter plane he was flying crashed. Titov, Gagarin's back-up for this flight, was the second person to orbit the Earth, doing so on the Vostok 2 spacecraft on 6 August 1961.

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