SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Yuri Gagarin as a student. Students at the Saratov Industrial Polytechnic, Saratov, USSR, in 1953. At centre is Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968), who later became famous as the first man in space. Gagarin was born in the village of Klushino near Gzhatsk, Russia, later moving to Saratov on the Volga River to enter the polytechnic there. In Saratov, he learnt to fly, and in 1955 after completing his technical training, he began military flight training in Orenburg. In 1960, he was selected for the Soviet space program. He was made a Hero of the Soviet Union when he became the first man in space, orbiting the Earth in the Vostok 1 spacecraft on 12 April 1961. He died in a plane crash in 1968.
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