Yuri Gagarin driving through London, UK
Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968), Soviet cosmonaut and first man in space, driving through London, UK, in an open-top car. Gagarin made the first manned space flight on 12 April 1961. He orbited the Earth once in the Vostok 1 spacecraft, a flight that lasted 1 hour and 48 minutes. Gagarin became a hero in the Soviet Union and famous worldwide. He later returned to active service as a test pilot, dying in a crash during a training flight in 1968. His ashes were interred with full military honours in the Kremlin Wall. Photographed in July 1961.
© RIA NOVOSTI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Manfred von Richthofen, German pilot
Manfred von Richthofen (1892-1918), or the Red Baron, German fighter pilot who won 80 air combats during World War I. Richthofen (centre) is standing with members of Jasta 11, or the Flying Circus. Richthofen achieved his first air victory on 17 September 1916. On January 12th 1917, he was awarded the Orden Pour le Merite (Blue Max) for reaching 18 victories. Around this time he decided to paint parts of his aircraft red to help identify himself to his allies. Richthofen was shot down over France in April 1918, aged 25, and was succeeded by Hermann Goring, who went on to become the head of the Luftwaffe.
© SCIENCE, INDUSTRY & BUSINESS LIBRARY/NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Wright Model A aircraft flight, 1909
Wright Model A aircraft flight, 1909. US aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright (1867-1912) taking off in a Wright Model A, one of several aircraft built by him and his brother Orville Wright (1871-1948). This flight was one of two that took place on 29 September 1909. On one of the flights, Wilbur piloted the aircraft over New York Harbour and around the Statue of Liberty, seen by millions in a flight lasting less than five minutes. It was part of a celebration of 300 years of New York history. A canoe (seen here) was attached to the aircraft in case of a water landing. This photograph is from the Bain News Service, one of the USA's earliest news picture libraries.
© LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY