First Man in Space

The Russian astronaut Gagarin flew into orbit aboard the Soviet spacecraft Vostok I on 12 April 1961, becoming the first man in space. He orbited the Earth once before returning for a safe landing in the Soviet Union roughly 90 minutes later.

The 1961 flight made him an international hero; the flight was considered a political victory for the Soviet Union; the United States didn't put a man into space until Alan Shepard's sub-orbital flight on 5 May 1961.