Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin grew up on a collective farm. He showed an early interest in aviation and soon joined a flying club. His instructor recommended him to the military, and he became an Air Force pilot.
In 1959 he joined the Soviet Cosmonaut Corps. On April 12, 1961, Gagarin stunned the world by becoming the first human in space. After his epic flight, Gagarin became the head of the cosmonaut team. He died in 1968, in an aircraft accident.