On the 50th anniversary of his flight, Gagarin would have been only 77. He could have celebrated this jubilee, but the fate had a different opinion. Gagarin became a part of history at the age, when the majority of people plan their career yet. The Soviet people got acquainted with his pre-space biography in a special edition of Pravda on the day of the flight. “He was born on March 9, 1934 in Gzhatsk district of Smolensk region in the family of a collective farmer. In 1941 he went to school, but the Nazi invasion interrupted his school attendance. In 1951 Gagarin graduated from vocational school in Lyubertsy near Moocow with honors with a diploma of molder-founder and simultaneously the school of working youth. Then, he studied at the industrial college in Saratov and graduated from this educational establishment with honors in 1955. Being a college student, he made his first steps in aviation. He studied at the Saratov Aeroclub.” It was there that he boosted a plane into the air for the first time. He did not say “Off we go!” at that time. It was legendary Mark Gallay who advised this phrase pronounced by experienced pilot to Gagarin, when the latter was already a member of the cosmonaut corps. Let us continue. “After graduating from the aeroclub in 1955, Gagarin studied at the Orenburg Aviation Academy. Having graduated from it in 1957, he serves as the pilot of Soviet Air Force. Last year, Yuri Gagarin joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.” Then, Pravda continues to quote his personal data: “He is married. His wife Valentina Gagarina, 26, graduated from the Orenburg Medical College. They have two daughters – two-year-old Elena and Galina, who is only one month old. Gagarin's father, 59, works as woodworker. His mother Anna, born in 1903, is a housewife”
A common biography of an ordinary Soviet pilot. Such typical Soviet men, yet healthy, young, not so high and light in weight were recruited to the very first cosmonaut corps, as the first rockets were not meant for giant athletes. Vostok-1 took off from Baikonur on April 12 at 09:07 Moscow time. For 108 minutes Gagarin actually traveled around the globe – one revolution around the Earth – and got a record promotion – the senior lieutenant landed in the rank of major and right into the arms of world fame. The whole world really adored him, while he wanted to fly. For the seven years measured off for him after the epochal flight, Yuri Gagarin managed to graduate from the Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy, take up the position of deputy chief for flying instruction at the Cosmonaut Training Center, and become backup pilot for Vladimir Komarov in the flight on board Soyuz-1. Komarov was killed during this flight. Less than a year later, Gagarin also died in a crash during the training flight. The fate decided that colonel Gagarin would never become a general. However, there are many generals, while Gagarin is only one.