Russia Honors First Man in Space With Rocket Launch
Fifty years ago this month, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human ever to fly in space. And he’s about to go back — if in name only.
Today (April 4), Russia will launch three spaceflyers aboard a Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft that has been christened the “Yuri Gagarin” to honor the cosmonaut and his historic flight, which took place on April 12, 1961. The Soyuz is slated to blast off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 6:18 p.m. EDT (4:18 a.m. April 5 local time).
The “Yuri Gagarin” will carry two Russian cosmonauts and one American astronaut to the International Space Station, where they will join three spaceflyers already there, rounding out the orbiting lab’s Expedition 27.
On image above, NASA astronaut Ron Garan poses in front of the booster for the “Yuri Gagarin” Soyuz spacecraft.