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Google doodle pays tribute to Gagarin mission

Google paid tribute to Russia's Yuri Gagarin on Tuesday, replacing the logo on its homepage with an image of the first man in space and a rocket that a visitor can launch with a cursor.

Google replaced the first 'O' in the company's name with a picture of Gagarin in his helmet and substituted a globe for the second 'O' in its name.

A rocket perched on the globe takes off in a puff of smoke and soars into the sky when a visitor to the page places the cursor on the Google logo.

Gagarin blasted off in his Vostok rocket on April 12, 1961 from the Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.

The Mountain View, California-based Google frequently changes the colorful logo on its famously spartan home page to mark anniversaries or significant events or pay tribute to artists, scientists, statesmen and others.