Soyuz launch to honor Gagarin’s legendary flight

The Russian Space Agency is dedicating its next Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft launch to the anniversary of Yury Gagarin's pioneering flight 50 years ago.

­Blasting off from Kazakhstan in four days, the craft will carry two Russian cosmonauts, Aleksandr Samokutyaev and Andrey Borisenko, and an American astronaut Ron Garan to the International Space Station.

The crew is now going through pre-flight preparations, including fit checks, literally – checking whether they fit into the seats that were designed especially for each of them.

The team is expected to conduct some 40 experiments in space.

This launch is special because it is due to take place very close to the anniversary of Yury Gagarin’s first flight, which was 50 years ago on April 12, 1961. On Friday, the crew paid their tribute to the first man in space by visiting The Yury Gagarin Museum and leaving their signatures.