On this day in 1961 Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to enter space and orbit the Earth, helping boost the Soviet space program and intensify the space race with the United States. Back then the skies, it seems, seemed so much friendlier.
Gagarin, who stood just five feet two inches in his socks, developed a passion for flying while at technical school. He then entered military flight training, earning his pilot’s wings in the cockpit of a MiG-15.
At the turn of the Sixties he was selected as one of the Soviet Union’s first grouping of 20 potential cosmonauts. He excelled in training and was chosen to be the first man to enter space (it may have helped that the Vostok-1 capsule was so damn cramped).
Like that of the Mercury astronauts that followed him into space just a month later, and the Apollo astronauts who set foot on the moon, Gagarin’s fame spawned a number of mini industries – one of which was graphic and product design - both of which took a decidedly space age turn. Inspired by Gagarin’s out of this world experience here are just a few of them, courtesy of the Moscow Design Museum (you can see more on their Instagram). Wherever you are in the cosmos Yuri, we salute you.
More great Soviet-era design can of course be found in Graphic: 500 Designs that Matter.