Yuri Gagarin was a stone cold cosmonaut; landing his Vostok-1 capsule even after it failed to separate upon reentry, started into a high-G spin, and then blew its exit hatch 7,000m up. Starman has all the harrowing details here.
Everyone is paying tribute to cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin today, and with good reason: he was the first man to travel into space. But let's not forget the craft that got him there, the Vostok 3KA.
It happened when Earth was still in black and white: 50 years ago we stepped outside our home planet for the first time. This is the tale of the beginning of an adventure that hasn't ended yet, the biggest, most dangerous and rewarding quest ever embarked on by the human race—the fascinating story of two men who took…