It is 62 years since a historic human feat: Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s journey to become the first human being to see the Earth from space with his own eyes. It was on 12 April 1961 and it was a 108-minute flight. It was a milestone and put the then USSR, in the midst of the Cold War, at the forefront of the space race.
VIDEO of YURI GAGARIN’S TESTIMONY – 1962
Speech before the start
Dear friends, relatives and strangers, compatriots, people of all countries and continents!
In a few minutes, a mighty spaceship will take me to the distant expanses of the universe. What can I tell you in these last minutes before the start? My whole life seems to me now like a beautiful moment. Everything that has been lived, that has been done before, has been lived and done for the sake of this moment. You understand, it is difficult to sort out the feelings now, when the hour of the test, for which we have been preparing for a long time and with passion, is very close. It is not worth talking about the sensations I experienced when I was offered to make this first flight in history. Joy? No, it wasn’t just joy. Pride? No, it was not just pride. I experienced great happiness. To be the first in space, to enter one on one in an unprecedented duel with nature, is it possible to dream of more?
But after that, I thought of the colossal responsibility that lay upon me. The first to achieve what generations of people have dreamed of, the first to pave mankind’s way into space… Name me a task that is more difficult than the one that fell to me. This is a responsibility not for one, not for dozens of people, not for the team. This is a responsibility for the whole Soviet people, for the whole of humanity, for its present and future. And if, nevertheless, I decide for this flight, it is only because I am a communist, because I have behind me examples of the unparalleled heroism of my compatriots – the Soviet people. I know that I will muster all my will for it to make the best work. Understanding the responsibility of the task, I will do everything in my power to fulfil the task of the Communist Party and the Soviet people.
Am I happy to go into space? Of course, happy. After all, in all times and epochs it was the greatest happiness for people to participate in new discoveries.
I would like to dedicate this first space flight to the people of communism, a society into which our Soviet people are already entering and into which, I am sure, all the people of the earth will enter.
There are only a few minutes left before the start. I bid you, my dear friends, farewell, as people who are going on a long journey always say, and how I would like to embrace you all, family and strangers, near and far!
See you soon!