Countless space missions later, a free film, "First Orbit," has been released online recreating that flight. The 99-minute Attic Room production is described as "A real time recreation of Yuri Gagarin's pioneering first orbit."
Collaborating with the crew of the International Space Station, the film takes the viewer on a journey around the Earth just as Yuri Gagarin would have experienced it. The audio used is that of Gagarin's cockpit audio recordings set to an original score by composer Philip Sheppard.
In concert with the film release, The Attic Room has also released mobile apps for the iPhone ($0.99) and Android ($1.15) that allow users to have a more interactive experience while flying over Earth, replete with maps, and GPS-like waypoints for the flight.
So how did this young would-be cosmonaut end up becoming the first man in space?
An early interest in space and flying led him to flight school and eventually through the ranks of the Soviet Air Force. When asked, the majority of his peers voted for him to fly first. But in the final round, it was his stature that got him the assignment. The cockpit in the Vostok 1 was so small that Gagarin's 5-feet 2-inch height made him the best candidate.
First Orbit won't offer viewers a glimpse inside the Vostok 1, but instead will show the sights outside the capsule as it raced at 20,000 miles per hour around Earth.
His risky 22,000-foot parachute landing is shown (though not in detail) and the adrenaline and excitement of the moment will surely make many want to grab the nearest mobile devices and see what else they can learn about this important moment in human history.
Watch First Orbit here and let us know what you think below.