Yuri Gagarin - After Vostok 1

After Vostok 1

After the flight, Gagarin became a worldwide celebrity, touring widely abroad. He visited Italy, Germany, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Egypt and Finland to promote the Soviet Union's accomplishment of putting the first human in space. He visited the United Kingdom three months after the Vostok 1 mission, visiting the cities of London and Manchester, the latter of which has been fondly remembered by locals.

The sudden rise to national and international fame took its toll on Gagarin. When attending various functions and receptions in his honour, he consumed large amounts of alcohol, even though otherwise he was not a regular drinker. His physical appearance changed and he became noticeably heavier. The attention of female fans took a toll on his marriage. It was rumoured that his wife once caught him in a hotel room with another woman. Gagarin supposedly jumped out of the second floor window and hit his face on a kerbstone, which resulted in a deep cut above his left eye. The scar remained visible after the incident.

In 1962, he began serving as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. He later returned to Star City, the cosmonaut facility, where he spent seven years working on designs for a reusable spacecraft. He became Lieutenant Colonel (or Podpolkovnik) of the Soviet Air Force on 12 June 1962 and on 6 November 1963 he received the rank of Colonel (Polkovnik) of the Soviet Air Force. Soviet officials tried to keep him away from any flights, being worried of losing their hero in an accident. Gagarin was backup pilot for his friend Vladimir Komarov in the Soyuz 1 flight, which was launched despite Gagarin's protests that additional safety precautions were necessary. When Komarov's flight ended in a fatal crash, Gagarin was permanently banned from training for and participating in further spaceflights.

Gagarin had become deputy training director of the Star City cosmonaut training base. At the same time, he began to re-qualify as a fighter pilot.

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