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Gagarin Became First Man to Fly in Space on this Day in 1961

The first flight of a man in space occurred on this day in 1961. Before Soviet Astronaut Yuri Gagarin's successful flight, there were five test flights conducted. The first space ship, completing the program, did not listen to command on descent and flew into a new orbit and was destroyed. The second test flight was successful. But at the end of 1960 the third test flight in a space ship similar to the Vostok, which Gagarin flew, was again unsuccessful. The apparatus burned up during its return to Earth.

On April 12, 1961 Gagarin became the first man to fly in space. Before leaving the ground, he said the historic word poyekhali! (let's go!). Gagarin orbited Earth one complete time in 1 hour and 48 minutes in his spaceship Vostok-1. He landed on the bank of the Volga river. On April 14, Moscow met the hero with a huge rally. Since April 9, 1962 the day in Russia is celebrated as All-World Aviation and Cosmonautics Day, or simply Cosmonauts Day.

And on this day in 1919 the first communist subbotnik took place at Sortirovochnaya station. Workers at the depot 'Moscow-Sortirovochnaya' on a weekend day repaired three locomotives without charge. The initiative was given a great deal of press and 'subbotnik' turned up in Russian dictionaries as unpaid work for the good of the homeland.

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