First man in space Yuri Gagarin gets London statue

Associated Press
Elena Gagarina, director of the Kremlin Museums in Moscow, and daughter of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, poses in front of a newly-unveiled statue of her father, outside the headquarters of the British Council, in central London, Thursday, July 14, 2011.  A gift from the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) to the British Council, the statue shows Gagarin standing on a globe in his space suit, and it will be installed at this location for a period of 12 months to mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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LONDON (AP) — A statue of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin has been erected in London to mark the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight.

Gagarin's daughter, Elena Gagarina, unveiled the statue outside the London offices of cultural organization the British Council.

The statue by Russian sculptor Anatoly Novikov is a gift from the Russian Space Agency and will stand for a year, opposite a monument to explorer Capt. James Cook, the first person to circumnavigate the globe.

Gagarin orbited the Earth for 108 minutes on April 12, 1961 aboard the Vostok 1 space capsule.

Gagarin visited Britain after his feat, where he met Queen Elizabeth II exactly 50 years ago Thursday. Gagarina said her father had been "greatly impressed" with the reception he received in Britain.

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