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Yuri Gagarin's first manned spaceflight: By the numbers
It's been 50 years since the Soviet air force pilot blasted off in a rocket and circled the earth for 108 minutes. He's since been followed into space by 522 people from 38 nations
 
Yuri Gagarin on the bus ride before the world's first manned spaceflight, on April 12, 1961; The Soviet cosmonaut traveled 108 minutes in space, at an altitude of 200 miles above the Earth.
Yuri Gagarin on the bus ride before the world's first manned spaceflight, on April 12, 1961; The Soviet cosmonaut traveled 108 minutes in space, at an altitude of 200 miles above the Earth.
NASA

The era of manned spaceflight turns 50 years old Tuesday. On April 12, 1961, the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was launched into space on the Soviet Vostok-1 rocket, setting a new precedent of achievement in the space race, and turning himself into an international hero in the process. Five decades on, a look at the numbers behind Gagarin's extraordinary achievement:

64
Gagarin's pulse, in beats per minute, recorded half an hour before the launch. The cosmonaut was said to be eerily calm in the build-up to the flight.

6
The diameter, in feet, of the tiny spherical capsule in which Gagarin spent the flight. At only 5'2", Gagarin was small enough to fit inside comfortably.

6:07
The early-morning time at which Gagarin uttered the famous word "poyekali", or, "let's go," from the capsule of the Vostok-1 rocket

17,500
The maximum speed, in miles per hour, that Gagarin reached in Vostok-1

108
The duration, in minutes, of Gagarin's maiden voyage into space

200
The altitude, in miles, at which Gagarin orbited the earth

20
The temperature, in degrees farhrenheit, inside the capsule during Gagarin's flight. The humidity was 65 percent.

More than 1,500
The number of pounds Gagarin felt as if he weighed due to the G-force during re-entry

23,000
The altitude, in feet, at which Gagarin bailed out of his capsule to make a parachute jump to earth. The Soviet Union only admitted in 1971 that Gagarin had not landed inside the Vostok capsule.

200
The distance off course, in miles, where Gagarin finally landed, in a ploughed field southeast of Moscow. A startled farmer was the first person to greet the cosmonaut.

1 month, 13 days
Amount of time it took after Gagarin's flight before President John F. Kennedy announced that the U.S. would put a man on the moon "before this decade is out"

10 months, 8 days
Amount of time it took after Gagarin's flight before John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth, on February 20, 1962

8 years, 3 months and 3 days
Amount of time it took after Gagarin's flight before Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, on July 20, 1969

77
The age Gagarin would be today, were he still alive. He died in a plane crash in 1968. Conspiracy theorists claim he was murdered by the Soviet authorities, though there is little evidence backing up the claim.

74
Number of countries celebrating 'Yuri's Night' events this year

$10
The cost of "Yuri's Night" temporary tattoos, available from YurisNight.net. T-shirts, lapel pins, and "space pens" are also available.

522
The number of people who have followed Gagarin into space since April 12, 1961. The majority (335) were from the U.S, and 111 were Russians.

Sources: TIME (2), ABC News, National Geographic, Daily Telegraph (2), The Guardian, Washington Post, MSNBC, The Montreal Gazette, Yuri's Night

 

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