Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, Hero of the Soviet Union, was a Soviet cosmonaut. On 12 April 1961, he became the first human in outer space and the first to orbit the Earth. He received medals from around the world for his pioneering tour in space.
Vostok 1 marked Yuri Gagarins only spaceflight, but he served as backup to the Soyuz 1 mission, which ended in a fatal crash. Gagarin later became deputy training director of the Cosmonaut Training Centre outside Moscow, which was later named after him. Gagarin died when a training jet he was piloting crashed in 1968.
Today (12 April, 2011) marks Yuri’s 50th year anniversary of being the first human in outer space.