SEE YOU SOON!
Y.A. Gagarin's statement before the launch
Before setting off on his mission to space onboard Vostok spacecraft, Y.A. Gagarin made the following statement for the press and radio:
Dear friends, close and unknown, compatriots, people of all countries and continents!
In a few minutes a mighty spacecraft will carry me to the far reaches of the Universe. What can I say to you in these last few minutes before the lift-off? All my life seems to me now to be one beautiful moment. All that I lived through, all that I did before, has been lived through and done for the sake of this minute. You understand that it is difficult to sort out one's feelings now, when the hour of trial, for which we have been fervently preparing for a long time, has drawn very close. I hardly need to talk about the feelings I had when I was offered to make the first such flight in history. Was it joy? No, it wasn't just joy. Was it pride? No, it wasn't just pride. I felt great happiness. To be the first man in space, to engage in this unique one-on-one with nature - could one even dream of something greater than this?
But my next thought was about the huge responsibility, which fell to me. To be the first man to fulfill the dreams of generations of people, to be the first man to open up the road to space for humanity. Could one name a task of greater complexity than the one which fell to me? This responsibility is not towards one or dozens of people, not towards a team. This responsibility is towards the whole of the Soviet people, towards the entire mankind, towards its present and its future. And if, nevertheless, I am determined to make this flight, that is only because I am a communist, because I have examples of unmatched heroism of my compatriots, Soviet people, to follow. I know that I will be able to summon all my willpower in order to accomplish the mission in the best way possible. Being aware of the importance of this task, I will do my utmost to accomplish the mission assigned to me by the Communist party and the Soviet people.
Am I happy to set out on a space mission? Certainly I am. Because throughout the ages, people found that greatest happiness lies in taking part in new discovery.
I want to dedicate this first space mission to the people of communism - the phase in the development of society, which our Soviet people are already entering, and which, I am sure, will eventually enter all the people of Earth.
It's only a few minutes before the lift-off now. I say good-bye to you, my dear friends, just as people always say to each other setting out on a long journey. I wish I could embrace you all, known and unknown, distant and close!
See you soon!
April 12, 1961