On April 12, 1961, humanity broke a new barrier with the first manned voyage to outer space. Twenty-seven year-old Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was the author of the feat as his Vostok I capsule made a full orbit of the Earth.
Born into a humble family in the town of Klushino, Gagarin worked as a foundryman in his youth before joining the Soviet Air Force. From there, he was selected to join the space program.
In the midst of the Cold War, Gagarin’s flight was a vindication of the major scientific and technological progress in the Soviet Union, as well as a triumph felt and embraced by the entire people. The cosmonaut himself would write years later, “many will see the Sun [from outer space], thousands of Earthlings, men of all trades and countries. As they look to uncover the mysteries of the Universe, they will dream of Humanity’s well-being.” 
Other April milestones
Overnight, Gagarin became known all over the world and an icon in the USSR. He was a deputy in several bodies and was declared a Hero of the Soviet Union, the country’s highest decoration. After his Vostok I journey, he dedicated himself training new cosmonauts before returning to the airforce as a fighter pilot. But he ended up dying in an accident in 1968 at just 34 years of age.
Yuri Gagarin reflected a lot on his experience, always with a hopeful outlook and thinking about the common good.
“If progressive men join their efforts, I’m convinced that Humanity will build the first steps to outer space, perhaps even Mars. This domestication of the cosmos, undertaken in a climate of friendship, will bring infinite benefits also on Earth, for example in matters relating to the climate” , he wrote.
 Text written by Gagarin in 1967 on occasion of the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution.