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World celebrates International Day of Human Space Flight marking Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering foray into orbit

Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was the first human to orbit into space (Image courtesy: Twitter/@Russia)

The world is celebrating the International Day of Human Space Flight – also marked as Cosmonautics Day in Russia – on Wednesday to commemorate the historic flight of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who on this day in 1961 became the first human to venture into space aboard the Vostok-1 spacecraft.

Opening a new chapter of human endeavour in outer space, the 108-minute orbital flight changed the world forever.

It also paved way for another USSR cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova to become the first woman to orbit the Earth on 16th June 1963 and American astronaut Neil Armstrong the first human to set foot upon the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969.

The beginning of the space era for mankind led to the docking of the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft on 17 July 1975, the first international human mission in space, opening the way for future joint manned flights.

Yuri Gagarin

In April 2011, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared April 12 as the ‘International Day of Human Space Flight’ to celebrate each year at the international level the beginning of the space era for mankind.

The resolution reaffirmed the important contribution of space science and technology in achieving sustainable development goals and increasing the well-being of States and peoples, as well as ensuring the realisation of their aspiration to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes.

While Russia continues to honour the feats of Gagarin and Tereshkova – the Bank of Russia is issuing a 3-Ruble commemorative silver coin on the 60th anniversary of Tereshkova’s flight into space – the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have also celebrated the remarkable achievements through numerous monuments.

A television film dedicated to the first manned flight into space was created by the editors of five partner media outlets of the TV BRICS network with the support of Roscosmos TV.

Russian space agency Roscosmos has also released a video of cosmonauts Sergey Prokopiev, Dmitry Petelin, Andrey Fedyaev congratulating professionals of the rocket and space industry on Cosmonautics Day from the International Space Station.