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Models of Success

Yuri Gagarin: The First Human in Space, Part 2 of 2



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That fateful day on the 12th of April 1961, Yuri Gagarin’s speech recorded this touching moment: “Dear friends, both known and unknown fellow countrymen, and people of all countries and continents! In a few minutes, a mighty spaceship will carry me into the far-away expanses of space. What can I say to you in these last minutes before the start? The whole of my life seems to be condensed into one wonderful moment. Everything I have experienced and done till now has been in preparation for this moment.”

At his first press conference, he recalled: “The view of the Earth from an altitude of 175 to 300 kilometers (100 to 185 miles) is very sharp. The Earth’s surface looks approximately the same as seen from a high-flying jet plane. Clearly distinctive are large mountain ranges, large rivers, large forest areas, shorelines and islands.”

After April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin became an instant superstar, and he rose to the occasion, living up to the position of a national hero. He displayed a level of charisma that had not been witnessed in his home country for several decades. In a nation that had experienced a lot of turmoil during much of the 20th century, the occasion of Yuri Gagarin’s conquering of space was met by the public, almost universally, with an incredible outpouring of joy and patriotic fervor. He went on to become one of the first people to propose the use of a fixed-wing space vehicle, similar to the space shuttle designs that were later used by NASA in the US.

Yuri Gagarin truly embraced the principles of equality and the brotherhood of man. He was at heart a pilot, with the soul of a poet. His journey into space had broadened his sense of benevolence for all of humanity as he looked down upon the most beautiful blue ball that is our Earth. To close today’s program, let us remember the wise words of Yuri Gagarin – the first man in space: “Circling the Earth in the orbital spaceship, I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world!! Let us safeguard and enhance this beauty – not destroy it.”

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