MOSCOW — By a giant statue towering over Moscow into a modest monument around the Sakhalin Island in the Pacific Ocean, heaps of memorials across Russia commemorate Yuri Gagarin, the cosmonaut who became the first person in space 60 decades ago.
Gagarin’s 108-minute assignment required the Space Age to a new degree and marked a historic achievement for the Soviet Union, which beat the USA at a tight race to establish a guy beyond the planet’s atmosphere.
For the Soviet people, Gagarin’s spaceflight has been a triumph like the victory over the Germans in World War II. It’s remained a source of national pride because April 12, 1961, a symbol of the country’s bravery and technological arts.
Gagarin died seven years later he orbited the planet. The first monuments glorifying him and his pioneering achievement were erected while he still was alive.
A titanium obelisk depicting a starting rocket and dedicated to the very first Soviet cosmonauts was unveiled in Moscow in 1964. Position 107 meters large, (351 feet), it features a Gagarin relief. The Cosmonauts Alley near the Conquerors of Space monument that opened in 1967 contains bronze busts of Gagarin and other Soviet cosmonauts.
Another towering monument constructed in 1980 also became a Moscow landmark: a titanium statue of Gagarin standing on a base formed to resemble rocket exhaust. It is 42 meters (138 feet) high and weighs 12 tons.
The field near Moscow where his plane crashed also got a memorial.
Additional Gagarin monuments comprise a statue in Star City, home to the spaceflight training center just outside the capital in which Gagarin and a lot of different cosmonauts lived.
Dozens of others have been spread across Russia, such as one in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, on the far-eastern Sakhalin Island.
A statue of Gagarin additionally marks the Baikonur space launching facility, the area he blasted off from in then-Soviet Kazakhstan. After the Soviet Union’s collapse, Russia allowed Baikonur for both unmanned space assignments and satellite launches.
A field near the Volga River where Gagarin landed following his historic 1961 flight bears an obelisk and a Gagarin statue inserted later. A theme park has been set up there to mark the 60th anniversary of his trip.