108 minutes

55 years ago today, Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.

In 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first ambassador of our planet to enter the vastness of space. Vostok 1 was the first manned spaceflight of the early space race, and Gagarin completed one orbit of Earth before landing safely 108 minutes later.

While flying weightless above Earth’s surface, Yuri Gagarin witnessed a spectacular view of home — forests, deserts, and great plains were surrounded by expansive oceans. Upon viewing the thin blue line of the atmosphere, Gagarin became the first of our inquisitive species to see our planet as it truly is — a vibrant, geologically active world circling a star. We at Penny4NASA urge you to honor the memory of this brave man, as his Vostok 1 mission was the catalyst for every manned spaceflight adventure to date.