A statue of Yuri Gagarin, the Russian astronaut who in April 1961 became the first man to look down on Earth from outer space, is to find a permanent home in London at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.
The statue was a gift to the people of Britain from Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency, to mark the 50th anniversary of manned space flight.
It was given temporary planning permission for a site on the Mall, and was unveiled there by his daughter Elena Gagarina 50 years to the day after cheering crowds gathered to greet the hero on 14 July 1961. The astronaut had been on his way to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen, a highlight of a visit to Britain twice extended when the wild enthusiasm of the crowds at every stop overwhelmed the government's original modest plans…
At Greenwich he will stand at the prime meridian of the world, a site whose importance in the history of astronomy has won it world heritage status. Subject to planning permission, the British Council, which brought the statue to London, and the Royal Museums Greenwich plan to unveil it in its new home on 9 March next year, which would have been Gagarin's 79th birthday. Guardian