Yuri Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut who was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12th, 1961.
Gagarin was one of the 20 cosmonauts selected by Korolev for the Soviet space program.
Gagarin once said about those who were not meant to be sent to space, â€œThere is one thing that unites all of them â€“ it is their desire to become good pilots, cosmonauts. Space is calling for them. And it always will. Like an eternal callâ€.
Gagarin and other prospective cosmonauts were subjected to experiments designed to test physical and psychological endurance and carried out by a medical committee.
Gagarin had good eyesight and a strong and healthy heart and lungs. He successfully passed all vestibular experiments.
Gagarinâ€™s ability to adjust to vibration, overload and hypoxia was amazing.
Gagarin successfully passed all psychological tests. He proved to have a high degree of intellectual development, fantastic memory, sharp and far-ranging sense of attention to his surroundings, well-developed imagination and quick reactions.
The antiorthostatic test was one of the most difficult tests for Gagarin. The cosmonaut was fastened to a table and had to lay still for a long time in different positions (including upside down) to reveal possible pathologies.
His ability to focus and memory were tested in the shaker, altitude chamber and centrifuge. Gagarin had a right to refuse further testing any minute and leave the testing center but he wasnâ€™t going to give up.
He was also a good physiologist and could comfort any person in trouble.
Test after test, he would read another â€œfitâ€ in his medical record. He knew that the centrifuge – a device that tests the reactions and tolerance of pilots and astronauts to acceleration above those experienced in the Earth’s gravity – destroyed dreams of many pilots and cosmonauts and he tried to do his best when it was time for him to take a centrifuge test.
He was weighted (68 kg) to balance the centrifuge and fastened inside. Gagarin was to push the buttons to turn off the lights which were situated right in front of his eyes. The test was passed successfully.
All further centrifuge tests were completed. The medical committee tested 250 pilots and Gagarin was one of the 20 people who passed all the tests, including the centrifuge.