Yuri Gagarin
Historical Figure
Nationality: Russian citizen of the Soviet Union
Date of Birth: 1934
Date of Death: 1968
Cause of Death: Plane crash
Religion: Atheism
Occupation: Cosmonaut, Pilot, Soldier
Military Branch: Soviet Air Force
Political Party: Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Turtledove Appearances:
POD: May 30, 1942
Appearance(s): Second Contact (as "Yuri")
Type of Appearance: Direct
Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin (9 March 1934 - 27 March 1968), was a Soviet cosmonaut. On 12 April 1961, he became the first human in space and the first to orbit the Earth. He received medals from around the world for his pioneering tour in outer space. Gagarin died in a crash during a routine training flight in 1968.

Yuri Gagarin in Worldwar

Yuri was a Soviet cosmonaut in the early 1960s. Like many human astronauts in the early days of space flight, he was a casual acquaintance with other astronauts of the various space-faring nations. One of these acquaintances was American Glen Johnson.[1] Johnson and Yuri were idly chatting in the Race's language when nuclear missiles launched from a then-unknown satellite destroyed a dozen Race starships of the Colonization Fleet.[2] Prior to the launch, Yuri had been defending himself against Johnson's claims that Soviet space shuttles did not require much in the way of pilot input and that Yuri was therefore superfluous on the flight.[3]

Literary comment

While Yuri's surname isn't given, it's clear that he is meant to be Gagarin.


  1. Second Contact, pg. 101
  2. Ibid., pg. 102.
  3. Ibid., pg. 101.

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