It was 50 years ago that Soviet Major Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space and to orbit the earth. For 108 minutes he was crammed inside a tiny capsule giving the world a vivid commentary of the planet below.
The United States was lagging behind at that point, and it wasn't until three weeks later that astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space.
Gagarin became a global icon. He died in 1968.