Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Who was Yuri Gagarin?

This Russian blog provides a wealth of detail about a man who is world-famous but not well known as a person - Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space. In this portrait, Gagarin emerges as a man who had plenty of technical skills but excelled in the intangibles - qualities Chief Designer Sergei Korolev sought in his cosmonauts. He could handle such tortures as spending 10 or 15 days in an isolation chamber where he could speak to no one. Moreover, among Gagarin's specialties were coolness, a sense of humor, and the equanimity to handle becoming a national icon. And everyone agreed he LOOKED properly like an ethnic Russian and had a classically Russian name: in the politics of the time, that mattered too.

Thanks to JSC historian Mike Ciancone for passing this along.

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