Yuri Gagarin

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Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!

Алексеевич Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (9 March 193427 March 1968) was a Soviet cosmonaut and the first human in space (12 April 1961).


I am a friend, comrades, a friend!

  • Let's go!
    • Uttered during the launch of Vostok 1 (12 April 1961); quoted by Sergey Viktorovich Novikov, in ' [The Greater Historical Encyclopedia] (2003) piper by Olma Media Group, p, 943
    • Variant translations: Let's ride!
    • Let's drive!
    • Off we go!
  • First words upon returning to Earth, to a woman and a girl near where his capsule landed (12 April 1961) The woman asked: "Can it be that you have come from outer space?" to which Gagarin replied: "As a matter of fact, I have!" As quoted in The Air Up There : More Great Quotations on Flight (2003) by Dave English, p. 118
    • Rays were blazing through the atmosphere of the earth, the horizon became bright orange, gradually passing into all the colors of the rainbow: from light blue to dark blue, to violet and then to black. What an indescribable gamut of colors! Just like the paintings of the artist Nicholas Roerich.
  • Statement of April 1961, as quoted in Warrior of Light : The Life of Nicholas Roerich : Artist, Himalayan explorer and visionary (2002) by Colleen Messina, p. 46
    • Ведь главная сила в человеке — это сила духа.
  • The main force in man — is the power of the spirit.
    • As quoted in Essays on Marxist-Leninist Ethics [марксистско-ленинской этике] (1962) by Simon S. Utkin [Семен Семенович Уткин], p. 180
      • Variant translation: The main human strength is willpower.
  • Облетев Землю в корабле-спутнике, я увидел, как прекрасна наша планета. Люди, будем хранить и преумножать эту красоту, а не разрушать её!
    • Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!
      • Russian phrase, handwritten and signed after his historic spaceflight, photo of facsimile published in Syny goluboi planety 3rd.edition (1981) by L. Lebedev, A. Romanov, and B/ Luk'ianov; the first edition was translated into English as Sons of the Blue Planet (1973) by L. A. Lebedev
  • What beauty. I saw clouds and their light shadows on the distant dear earth.... The water looked like darkish, slightly gleaming spots.... When I watched the horizon, I saw the abrupt, contrasting transition from the earth's light-colored surface to the absolutely black sky. I enjoyed the rich color spectrum of the earth. It is surrounded by a light blue aureole that gradually darkens, becoming turquiose, dark blue, violet, and finally coal black.
    • As quoted in Earth's Aura (1977) by Louise B. Young


  • I looked and looked but I didn't see God.
    • As quoted in To Rise from Earth (1996) by Wayne Lee; some websites quote him as saying "I looked and looked and looked but I didn't see God." on 14 April 1961, a couple days after his historic flight, but the authenticity of such statements have been disputed; Colonel Valentin Petrov stated in 2006 that the cosmonaut never said such words, and that the quote originated from Nikita Khrushchev's speech at the plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU about the state's anti-religion campaign, saying "Gagarin flew into space, but didn't see any god there." Gagarin himself was a member of the Russian Orthodox Church.
    • Variant: No I didn't see God. I looked and looked but I didn't see God.
      • As quoted in What's Missing Inside You? (2006) by Paul Schlieker, p. 17


  • I see no God up here.
    • This has been reported as a remark Gagarin made while in orbit aboard Vostok 1, but there is no indication of it in the official transcripts of his communications. It is similar to the above statements he reportedly made after his return to earth, which might have given rise to this account.

Quotes about Gagarin[edit]

  • Trying to describe the experience of going to space has been difficult from the very beginning. When Yuri Gagarin, the first man who went into space, returned to Earth, there was a huge reception in his honor. As his close friend and cosmonaut colleague Alexei Leonov tells it, then-premier Nikita Khrushchev cornered Gagarin "So tell me, Yuri," he asked, "did you see God up there?" After a moment's pause. Gagarin answered, "Yes sir, I did." Khrushchev frowned. "Don't tell any one," he said. A few minutes later the head of the Russian Orthodox Church took Gagarin aside. "So tell me, my child," he asked Gagarin, "did you see God up there?'" Gagarin hesitated and replied "No sir, I did not." "Don't tell anyone."
    • Anecdote in New Age Journal, Vol. 7 (1990), p. 176
  • He was like a sound amplified by a mountain echo. The traveller is small, but the mountains are great, and suddenly they merge into a single whole. Such was Yuri Gagarin.
    To accomplish a heroic exploit means to step beyond one's own sense of self-preservation, to have the courage to dare what today seems unthinkable for the majority. And to be ready to pay for it. For the hero himself, his feat is the limit of all possibilities. If he leaves something "in reserve", then the most courageous deed thereby moves into the category of work: hard, worthy of all glorification, but — work. An act of heroism is always a breakthrough into the Great Unknown. Even given most accurate preliminary calculations, man enters into that enterprise as if blindfold, full of inner tension and ready for any outcome.
    • Valentina Malmy, in Star World (1988), p. 218

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