Vostok 1 capsule, 1961.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model (scale 1:6). On 12 April 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (1934-1968), was launched into orbit by a Vostok rocket and became the first man in space. After completing one orbit, the automatic controls of the spacecraft brought him safely back to Earth.