Yuri Ivashchenko was born in Andrushivka, Zhytomyr Oblast, Ukraine on April 12, 1961, the day Yuri Gagarin became the first human to journey into outer space. Therefore his parents decided to name him after Yuri Gagarin. His father was a journalist of a regional newspaper, and his mother was a teacher of science and astronomy.
He graduated from a school No. 1 in Andrushivka. He was fond of astronomy since he was a child. In 1983 he graduated from Taras Shevchenko State University of Kiev, physics faculty, department of astronomy. In 1983–1992 he worked in the Main Astronomical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, where he received a degree of Candidate of Physico-mathematical Sciences. In 1992, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he left his academic position and joined an automobile dealer company in Kiev.
In 1998 he started to build his private observatory, which was launched on April 12, 2001 as Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory (A50). In 2003 Yuri Ivashchenko and his colleagues discovered their first asteroids in the observatory.
In 2005–2012 Andrushivka Astronomical Observatory was among top-20 observatories of the world by number of minor planet observations. Since 2003, more than 110 asteroids were discovered by its team.
In June 2014, because of the crisis in the automotive industry in Ukraine, he left the dealer center and once again became a research scientist at the Main Observatory of Ukraine's Academy of Sciences. Meanwhile, he continues supervising of the Andrushivka Observatory.
- Макуха Андрій (2013-01-22). Щоб зрозуміти життя на землі, треба частіше дивитися на небо. День (in Ukrainian) (10 (3893)). Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- Yearly break down of observations – Minor Planet Center
- Minor Planet Discoverers – Minor Planet Center