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GAGARIN YURI First Space Traveller Silver Coin 1$ Cook Islands 2011


This square-shaped, full colour commemorative silver coin has been struck to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first man in space. On April 12, 1961 history was made when Yuri Gagarin, Russian cosmonaut and hero of the Soviet Union, became the first man to travel into outer space, launching to orbit aboard the Vostok 3KA-3 (Vostok 1). His call sign was Siberian Pine.

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Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin; 9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968 was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human being to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961.
Gagarin was born in the village of Klushino near Gzhatsk (now in Smolensk Oblast, Russia), on 9 March 1934.The adjacent town of Gzhatsk was renamed Gagarin in 1968 in his honour. His parents, Alexey Ivanovich Gagarin and Anna Timofeyevna Gagarina, worked on a collective farm. While manual labourers are described in official reports as "peasants", his mother was reportedly a voracious reader, and his father a skilled carpenter. Yuri was the third of four children, and his elder sister helped raise him while his parents worked. Like millions of people in the Soviet Union, the Gagarin family suffered during Nazi occupation in World War II. After a German officer took over their house, the family constructed a small mud hut where they spent a year and nine months until the end of the occupation. His two older siblings were deported to Nazi Germany for slave labour in 1943, and did not return until after the war. In 1946, the family moved to Gzahtsk.
In his youth, Gagarin became interested in space and planets. After studying for one year at a vocational technical school in Lyubertsy, Gagarin was selected for further training at a technical high school in Saratov. While there, he joined the "AeroClub", and learned to fly a light aircraft, a hobby that would take up an increasing portion of his time.

In 1955, after completing his technical schooling, he entered military flight training at the Orenburg Pilot's School. While there he met Valentina Goryacheva, whom he married in 1957, after gaining his pilot's wings in a MiG-15. Post-graduation, he was assigned to Luostari airbase in Murmansk Oblast, close to the Norwegian border, where terrible weather made flying risky. He became a Lieutenant in the Soviet Air Force on 5 November 1957 and on 6 November 1959 he received the rank of Senior Lieutenant.

In 1960, after the search and selection process, Yuri Gagarin was chosen with 19 other pilots for the Soviet space program. Gagarin was further selected for an elite training group known as the Sochi Six from which the first cosmonauts of the Vostok programme would be chosen. Gagarin and other prospective cosmonauts were subjected to experiments designed to test physical and psychological endurance; he also underwent training for the upcoming flight. Out of the twenty selected, the eventual choices for the first launch were Gagarin and Gherman Titov because of their performance in training, as well as their physical characteristics — space was at a premium in the small Vostok cockpit and both men were rather short. Gagarin was 1.57 metres (5 ft 2 in) tall, which was an advantage in the small Vostok cockpit.

On 12 April 1961, aboard the Vostok 3KA-3 (Vostok 1), Gagarin became both the first human to travel into space, and the first to orbit the earth. His call sign was Kedr. In his post-flight report, Gagarin recalled his experience of spaceflight, having been the first human in space: the feeling of weightlessness was somewhat unfamiliar compared with Earth conditions. Here, you feel as if you were hanging in a horizontal position in straps. You feel as if you are suspended.

Following the flight, Gagarin told the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev that during reentry he had whistled the tune "The Motherland Hears, The Motherland Knows". The first two lines of the song are: "The Motherland hears, the Motherland knows/Where her son flies in the sky". This patriotic song was written by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1951 (opus 86), with words by Yevgeniy Dolmatovsky.

Some sources have claimed that Gagarin commented during the flight, "I don't see any God up here." However, no such words appear in the verbatim record of his conversations with Earth-based stations during the spaceflight. In a 2006 interview, Gagarin's friend Colonel Valentin Petrov stated 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." Petrov also said that Gagarin had been baptised into the Orthodox Church as a child, and a 2011 Foma magazine article quoted the rector of the Orthodox church in Star City saying, "Gagarin baptized his elder daughter Elena shortly before his space flight; and his family used to celebrate Christmas and Easter and keep icons in the house."

On 27 March 1968, while on a routine training flight from Chkalovsky Air Base, he and flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin died in a MiG-15UTI crash near the town of Kirzhach. The bodies of Gagarin and Seryogin were cremated and the ashes were buried in the walls of the Kremlin on Red Square. Gagarin was survived by his wife Valentina, and daughters Elena and Galina. Elena Gagarina, Yuri's oldest daughter, is an art historian who works as a director-general of the Moscow Kremlin Museums since 2001. His youngest daughter, Galina, is a department chair at Plekhanov Russian Economic University in Moscow.

  • CountryCook Islands
  • Year2011
  • Face Value1 Dollar
  • MetalSilver
  • Fineness (purity)925/1000
  • Weight (g)26
  • Size (mm)32 x 32
  • QualityProof
  • Mintage (pcs)10.000
  • Certificate (COA)Yes
  • Presentation case (box)Yes
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The reverse design features a full-colour representation of Earth, with an image of the Vostok 1 rocket circling the planet. In the upper right are a mass of stars forming a portrait of Yuri Gagarin in his space suit. At the bottom is the image of a boy holding a paper airplane, ready to launch. The inscription "First Man in Space" is in the upper right. On the obverse the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II is in the centre, with the inscription for the country of issue and the Queen's name circling the central effigy. In the upper right is the year of issue, while in the bottom left is the denomination. Each square silver coin is encapsulated and presented in an official First Man in Space box with Certificate of Authenticity.