On 12 April 1961, Russian airforce pilot Yuri Gagarin became the first man to go into space.
The 27-year-old cosmonaut became an instant world celebrity and the face of Soviet achiement, while the USSR used his success to declare victory in the "space race".
However, his story had a dark ending. Some years later, he took to the controls of an experimental aeroplane and, apparently drunk, crashed it - deliberately, according to some.
Watch original footage from his historic voyage, as well as the reaction from a surprised British public, in this British Pathé video, above.