Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (Russian: Ю́рий Алексе́евич Гага́рин; IPA: [ˈjʉrʲɪj ɐlʲɪˈksʲejɪvʲɪtɕ ɡɐˈɡarʲɪn]; 9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968) was aSoviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961. Today he would of been 79 years old.
Aside from his short stature at 1.57 metres (5 ft 2 in), one of Gagarin’s most notable traits was his smile.Many commented on how Gagarin’s smile gained the attention of crowds on the frequent tours he did in the months after the Vostok 1 mission success.
Gagarin also garnered a reputation as an adept public figure. When he visited Manchester in the United Kingdom, it was pouring rain. However, Gagarin insisted that the car hood remain back so that the cheering crowds could catch a glimpse of him. Gagarin stated, “If all these people have turned out to welcome me and can stand in the rain, so can I.” Gagarin refused an umbrella and remained standing in his open-top Bentley so that the cheering crowds could still see him.
Sergei Korolev, one of the masterminds behind the early years of the Soviet space program, later said that Gagarin possessed a smile “that lit up the Cold War”.