Happy Birthday to Yuri Gagarin, the first human to enter space, making the27 year old Russian Air Force Major the world’s first cosmonaut. The term cosmonaut is combination of two Ancient Greek words kosmos and nautes, a cosmonaut was a sailor of the cosmos, while an astronaut sailed the stars.
Recently declassified documents from the Russian Space program show that even while headed for the stars, Gagarin had very real world concerns. Still, Gagarin was calm and ready for his historic flight. Immediately prior to the launch, Gagarin had this conversation with chief rocket designer Sergei Korolyov, who reminded the Gagarin where his food was located.
‘There in the flap you have dinner, supper and breakfast,’ Korolyov said. ‘Got it,’ Gagarin replied. ‘You’ve got sausage, candy and jam to go with the tea,’ Korolyov said. 'Sixty-three pieces - you’ll get fat! When you get back today, eat everything right away.’ 'The main thing is that there is sausage - to go with the moonshine.’ Gagarin joked.
Less than a decade would pass before an American became the first man on the moon when Neil Armstrong took his famous step. Today the legacy of Yuri Gagarin is stronger than ever, with the Russian space program playing a major role in the International Space Station.
Photo of Yuri Gagarin courtesy the Russian Space Agency.