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- 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!"
- Quoted in The Air Up There : More Great Quotations on Flight (2003) by Dave English, p. 118
- Dear friends, both known and unknown to me, fellow countrymen, and people of all countries and continents! In a few minutes a mighty spaceship will carry me into the far-away expanses of space. What can I say to you in these last minutes before the start? The whole of my life seems to be condensed into one wonderful moment. Everything I have experienced and done till now has been in preparation for this moment… You realize that it is hard to express my feeling now – when the moment for the test, for which we have been training long and passionately, is so close. I don't have to tell you what I felt when it was suggested that I should make this flight, the first in history. Joy? No, it was something more than that. Pride? No, it was not just pride. I felt great happiness. To be the first to enter the cosmos, to engage single handed in an unprecedented duel with nature - could anyone dream of anything greater than that? But immediately after that I thought of the tremendous responsibility I bore: to be the first to do what generations of people had dreamed of; to be the first to pave the way into space for mankind.
Am I happy as I set off on this space flight? Of course I'm happy. After all, in all times and epochs the greatest happiness for people was to take part in new discoveries.
I would like to devote this first space flight to the people of communism, a society into which our Soviet people is already entering and into which, I am sure, all people on Earth will enter.
It is a matter of minutes now before the start. I say to you, 'Until we meet again,' dear friends, just as people say to each other when setting out on a long journey. I would like very much to embrace you all, people known and unknown to me, close friends and strangers alike. See you soon!
- If all those people are getting wet to welcome me, surely the least I can do is get wet too!
- Asking for the roof of his car to be put back despite the pouring rain, during his visit to Manchester (12 July 1961), as quoted in "Yuri Gagarin: Mankind's first giant leap" in The Economist (3 August 2011)
- Many people are interested in my biography. I have read in a newspaper that some irresponsible persons in the United States of America, who are distant relatives of the Gagarins princes and think that I am one of their offsprings. I have to disillusion them. I am a simple Soviet man. I was born March 9, 1934, to the family of a collective farmer. The place of my birth: Smolensk region, Gzhatsk district, the village of Klushino. I’ve never heard and don’t know any princes or nobility in my family tree. Before the revolution my parents were poor peasants. The older generation of my family, my grandfather and grandmother, were also poor peasants.
- 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.
- Our people, with their genius and their heroic work, created the Vostok spaceship, wonderful in the world, and its very smart, very reliable equipment. From the start to the very landing, I had no doubt about the successful outcome of the space flight. I would like to sincerely thank our scientists, engineers, technicians, all Soviet workers who created such a ship which allows to confidently comprehend the secrets of outer space. Let me also thank all the comrades and the whole team that prepared me for the space flight. I am convinced that all my friends, pilot-cosmonauts, are also ready to fly around our planet at any time. It is safe to say that we will fly on our more distant routes on our Soviet spacecraft. I am immensely glad that my beloved Motherland was the first in the world to make this flight, the first in the world to penetrate the Cosmos. The first plane, the first sputnik [satellite], the first cosmic spaceship and the first space flight — these are the stages of the great path of my Motherland toward the mastering the secrets of the Nature.
- Quoted in 108 минут, изменившие мир
- Облетев Землю в корабле-спутнике, я увидел, как прекрасна наша планета. Люди, будем хранить и преумножать эту красоту, а не разрушать её!
- Translation: 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
- When they saw me in my space suit and the parachute dragging alongside as I walked, they started to back away in fear. I told them, don't be afraid, I am a Soviet like you, who has descended from space and I must find a telephone to call Moscow!
- Recalling his meeting with workers in a field, upon his landing, as quoted in "Life on Mars?" by Jesse Skinner in Toro magazine (14 October 2008)
Quotes about Gagarin
- 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
- Gagarin - detailed biography at Encyclopedia Astronautica
- Photo, Audio and Video with Yuri Gagarin (in Russian), online version of CD created to his 70th anniv. on the homepage of Russian state archive for scientific-technical documentation (RGANTD).
- Transcripts of Gagarin's conversations from space (MS Word document, in Russian)
- Article in online Encyclopedia of cosmonautics A lot of information about the first human's flight to space (in Russian).
- Various information about Yuri Gagarin (in Russian)