On April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in outer space. His ship, Vostok 1, made one orbit of Earth before re-entering the atmosphere. Unlike other spacecraft (including the Freedom 7, which took American astronaut Alan Shepherd into space a month later), Vostok 1 could not slow down when it re-entered Earth's atmosphere. This meant that Gagarin had to parachute out of his capsule about 2.5 kilometers (8,200 feet) in the air.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry astronaut Noun
person who takes part in space flights.
layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.
Encyclopedic Entry: atmosphere Baikonur Cosmodrome Noun
(1955) Russian spaceport in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
a building or room that serves a specific function.
International Space Station (ISS) Noun
satellite in low-Earth orbit that houses several astronauts for months at a time.
very large or heavy.
path of one object around a more massive object.
outer space Noun
space beyond Earth's atmosphere.
device which allows a person to glide down safely from a great elevation.
Soviet Union Noun
(1922-1991) large northern Eurasian nation that had a communist government. Also called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the USSR.