Yuri Gagarin: The journey that shook the world

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Yuri Gagarin's single orbit of Earth 50 years ago this month ushered in the era of human spaceflight.

Gagarin's 108-minute flight was another major propaganda coup for the Soviet Union, which had successfully launched the first satellite - Sputnik - in 1957.

"I was a young fighter pilot in Germany I was flying F-102s in Rammstein Germany. We were more focused on the building of the Berlin Wall that year, rather than the space race," says Nasa astronaut Charles Duke, who walked on the Moon during the Apollo 16 mission in 1972.

"When he flew, my first impression was - well, they beat us again."

Sergei Khrushchev, the son of Nikita Khrushchev, who was the Soviet premier at the time of Gagarin's flight, told BBC News: "We were very proud but we did not really understand how important it was. It was one more flight, one more achievement."...

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