The first person in space was Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut. On April 12, 1961, Gagarin successfully completed one orbit around the Earth aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft. This historic achievement marked a significant milestone in space exploration and opened the door for future manned space missions. Gagarin’s bravery and pioneering spirit continue to inspire generations of astronauts and space enthusiasts around the world.
10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…blast off! Today Wonderopolis is leaving Earth and heading for space.
Growing up in today’s world, it can be difficult to imagine a time when the mysteries of outer space were unknown. We are aware that astronauts have walked on the Moon. The International Space Station revolves around Earth and provides us with various information.
The Hubble telescope journeys across the solar system, sending back extraordinary images to Earth. The Mars Rover is currently exploring the surface of Mars and continuously contributing to scientific knowledge.
However, in the past, outer space was an uncharted territory. The people of Earth could only gaze at the sky and wonder about what lay beyond.
Everything changed on April 12, 1961. On that day, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first individual to journey into space. In the Russian Vostok 1 spacecraft, he completed his groundbreaking 108-minute orbit around Earth — a feat that no one had ever achieved before.
Gagarin’s achievement initiated a competition between the United States and the Soviet Union known as the “space race.” These countries aimed to surpass each other by accomplishing more daring and innovative feats in space. For instance, less than a month after Gagarin’s flight, Alan Shepard became the first American in space.
A few years later, an even greater milestone was achieved. On July 21, 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the Moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission. Upon setting foot on the lunar surface, Armstrong uttered the famous words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Gagarin and Armstrong’s groundbreaking space expeditions paved the way for future discoveries. From space shuttle missions to manned space stations orbiting Earth, we now possess a much greater understanding of the world beyond Earth’s atmosphere, thanks to these pioneers!
Today, scientists primarily rely on modern technology, such as unmanned space rovers and increasingly advanced telescopes, to explore the far reaches of space. Manned missions are becoming rarer. If you aspire to be at the forefront of astronomical discoveries in the future, you may want to consider a career in fields like science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Who knows? Your name might be associated with the next spacecraft that ventures beyond Mars into the outer reaches of our solar system!
Try It Out
While it may be too late for you to become the first person in space, there are still frontiers waiting to be explored. Grab an adventurous friend or family member and try one or more of the following activities:
- If it ever becomes possible to send humans on missions to Mars or other planets, which planet would you choose to visit? Go online and visit Planets for Kids, a website that focuses on exploring astronomy from a child’s perspective. Take a look at the information about the planets in our solar system. Which planet would you be most interested in exploring? What is your reason for choosing that particular planet?
- Out of all the space vehicles that have been used throughout history, which one would you like to take a space flight in? Visit the Historic Spacecraft website on the Internet and start by exploring the Apollo Space Capsules. Then use the navigation links on the left side of the page to learn about various other historic spacecraft. If you could have piloted any of these spacecraft in the past, which one would you choose?
- Do you have a pioneering spirit? If given the opportunity, would you become a space explorer? Where would you choose to go? Let’s imagine that NASA is planning the first manned mission to Saturn. Would you volunteer to go on this mission? What are your reasons for wanting or not wanting to go? What aspects of the trip do you find exciting? What aspects might be scary? Do you think you would become famous as an astronaut? If you were a famous astronaut, what would you do? Create a short story or draw a picture that depicts your vision of the journey. Once you’re finished, share your story or picture with your Wonder Friends on Facebook. We’re excited to see what you create!
1. Who was the first person to go to space?
The first person to go to space was Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut. On April 12, 1961, Gagarin made history by becoming the first human to orbit the Earth. He completed one orbit around the Earth in a spacecraft called Vostok 1. This groundbreaking achievement marked a significant milestone in space exploration and paved the way for future space missions.
2. How did Yuri Gagarin become the first person in space?
Yuri Gagarin was selected from a group of twenty cosmonauts to be the first human to go to space. On the day of the launch, Gagarin boarded the Vostok 1 spacecraft and was launched into space from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The spacecraft completed one orbit around the Earth in just under 108 minutes, during which Gagarin experienced weightlessness and observed the Earth from space. After reentering the Earth’s atmosphere, he safely parachuted back to the ground.
3. What were the reasons behind sending Yuri Gagarin to space?
The Soviet Union’s decision to send Yuri Gagarin to space was driven by several reasons. Firstly, it was a significant achievement in the Space Race against the United States during the Cold War. The Soviet Union wanted to demonstrate its technological superiority and showcase its capabilities in space exploration. Secondly, Gagarin’s mission provided valuable data on the effects of space travel on the human body, which was crucial for future space missions. Lastly, Gagarin’s journey inspired millions of people worldwide and ignited a new era of space exploration.
4. Did Yuri Gagarin continue his career in space exploration after his historic flight?
After his historic flight, Yuri Gagarin continued to be involved in the Soviet space program. However, he did not go on any further space missions. Instead, he served as a backup and trained other cosmonauts for their space missions. Gagarin also pursued a career in aviation and became a prominent advocate for space exploration. Tragically, he died in a plane crash on March 27, 1968, at the age of 34, cutting short his contributions to the field of space exploration.
5. How did Yuri Gagarin’s journey impact the future of space exploration?
Yuri Gagarin’s journey had a profound impact on the future of space exploration. His successful mission demonstrated that human space travel was possible, opening up new possibilities for further exploration. Gagarin’s flight also spurred competition between nations and accelerated advancements in space technology. It inspired a generation of astronauts and scientists to push the boundaries of space exploration. Today, Gagarin’s legacy lives on as his journey paved the way for future missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.