A Day That Shook The World: Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space
Tuesday 12 April 2011
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.
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