The Russian cosmonaut Yuri Alexeivich Gagarin (1934-1968) was the first man to orbit the earth in an artificial satellite and thus ushered in the age of manned spaceflight.
Yuri Gagarin the third child of Alexei Ivanovich, a carpenter on a collective farm, and Anna Timofeyevna, was born on March 9, 1934, in the village of Klushino, Smolensk Province. Yuri attended an elementary school in Gzhatsk; in the sixth grade he began to study physics. At the age of 15 he became an apprentice foundryman in an agricultural machinery plant outside Moscow and enrolled in an evening school.
In 1951 Gagarin transferred to the Saratov Industrial Technical School. In 1955 he had to prepare a thesis in order to graduate. His problem was to design a foundry capable of producing 9,000 tons (metric) of castings a year. The state examining committee accepted his thesis, and he received his diploma.
Gagarin joined the Saratov Flying Club in 1955 and won his wings, learning to fly in the Yak-18. Late that year he was drafted and sent to the famous Orenburg Flying School, since he already had a pilot's license. He was disconcerted to learn that he would not be immediately put into jet planes. After he became an aviation cadet on Jan. 8, 1956, he was permitted to fly - but not in the jets he coveted. He started out all over again in the familiar Yak-18, learning to fly it the air force way. That year he also began flight training in the MIG jet.
Cosmonaut Selection and Training
On Oct. 4, 1957, Sputnik 1, the world's first artificial satellite, was orbited by the Soviet Union. Four days after Sputnik 2, on Nov. 7, 1957, Gagarin graduated from the flying school and was commissioned a lieutenant in the Soviet air force. On the same day he married Valentina Goryacheva.
Gagarin spent 2 years as a fighter pilot at an airfield above the Arctic Circle. By 1958 the Soviet government was asking for volunteers from the air force to pilot its spacecraft. On Oct. 5, 1959, Gagarin made formal application for cosmonaut training; he was selected in the first group of pilots. In 1960 the original group of 50 had been whittled down to 12, and these men moved to Zvezdograd (Star City), a newly built holding and training area in a suburb of Moscow.
For Gagarin and his 11 classmates training began in earnest. They were introduced to a bewildering curriculum of space navigation, rocket propulsion, physiology, astronomy, and upper atmospheric physics and were trained on special devices to accustom them to the physiological stresses of space flight. More to Gagarin's liking were the long hours spent in the mock-up of the Vostok, an exact replica of the spacecraft in which he would later orbit the earth. After only 9 months of training the cosmonauts were told that the first flight of the Vostok would be on April 12, 1961. Orbiting Earth The selection of Gagarin as the first man to orbit earth was assured when each cosmonaut was asked to designate who should be the one to make the flight; 60 percent named Gagarin. He was launched in Vostok 1 on the planned date, and during the crowded 1 hour 48 minutes of his single orbit of the earth he proved that man could survive in space and perform useful tasks. His mission ended at 10:55 A.M., when he landed safely in a field near Saratov. Following his mission, Gagarin became the commander of the cosmonaut detachment at Zvezdograd, a position he held until April 1965, when he briefly reentered mission training as a backup cosmonaut. During this period he also enrolled in the Zukovsky Institute of Aeronautical Engineering, where he began a 5-year course leading to a degree. On March 27, 1968, Gagarin died in a plane crash outside Moscow while on a routine training flight. He was given a state funeral and was buried in the Kremlin wall facing Red Square. h_ttp://www.answers.com/topic/yuri-gagarin
Musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born to Leopold Mozart and his wife Anna Maria Pertl in Salzburg, Austria on January 27, 1756. Leopold Mozart was a successful composer and violinist and served as assistant concertmaster at the Salzburg court. Mozart and his older sister Maria Anna "Nannerl" were the couple's only surviving children, and their musical education began at a very young age. The archbishop of the Salzburg court, Sigismund von Schrattenbach was very supportive of the Mozart children's remarkable activities.
By the time Mozart was five years old, he began composing minuets. The next year, he and his sister were taken to Munich and Vienna to play a series of concert tours. Both children played the harpsichord, but Mozart had also mastered the violin. In 1763, when Mozart was seven years old, his father took leave of his position at the Salzburg court to take the family on an extended concert tour of western Europe. Mozart and his sister performed in the major musical centers, including Stuttgart, Mannheim, Mainz, Frankfurt, Brussels, Paris, London, and Amsterdam. They did not return to Salzburg until 1766. During this time, Mozart continued to compose, completing his first symphony at age nine and publishing his first sonatas the same year.
After spending less than a year in Salzburg, the family again departed for Vienna, where Mozart completed his first opera La finta semplice in 1768. Much to Leopold's frustration, the opera was not performed until the following year in Salzburg. Shortly thereafter, Mozart was appointed honorary Konzertmeister at the Salzburg court.
In 1769, father and son traveled to Italy and toured for more than a year in Rome, Milan, Florence, Naples, and Bologna. While in Italy, Mozart completed another opera, Mitridate, re di Ponto, received a papal audience, passed admission tests to the Accademia Filarmonica, and performed many concerts. Mozart then returned to Salzburg, but traveled to Italy for two shorter journeys in October 1771 and October 1772 through March 1773. During this time he completed two more operas, Ascanio in Alba (1771) and Lucio Silla (1772), eight symphonies, four divertimentos, and several other works.
Archbishop von Schrattenbach, who was a great supporter of Mozart, died in 1771 and was succeeded by Hieronymus von Colloredo. Although Archbishop Colloredo was a less generous employer, Mozart continued in his Salzburg post and worked diligently from 1775 to 1777. However, in an effort to secure a better position, Mozart obtained leave from Salzburg, and set out with his mother in 1777. They traveled through Munich, Augsburg, and Mannheim, but Mozart was not offered a post. The next year they continued on to Paris, where Mozart composed the Paris Symphony. In Paris, Mozart's mother fell ill and soon after the symphony's premiere, she died.
Several months later, Mozart returned to Salzburg and was given the post of court organist as well as Konzertmeister. He produced numerous works during this period, including the famous Coronation Mass. In 1780, he was commissioned to compose an Italian opera for Munich. Idomeneo, re di Creta was completed the next year and was very successful. Soon after, Mozart was summoned to Vienna by Archbishop Colloredo, but unhappy with his treatment there, Mozart requested a discharge.
Mozart remained in Vienna and in 1782, against his father's wishes, he married Constanze Weber. They had six children of which two survived. That same year, he completed the opera Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, which was an immediate success. From 1782 until 1787, when Mozart was appointed emperor Joseph II's chamber composer, Mozart was very productive. His works from this period include The Marriage of Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787), and numerous piano concertos. Unfortunately, Mozart's income did not keep up with his success. He and his wife lived extravagantly and were continually in debt.