International Day of Human Space Flight

International Day of Human Space Flight

International Day of Human Space Flight is observed on 12th April to commemorate the anniversary of the first manned spaceflight in 1961. On 12th April 1961 Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin piloted Vostok 1 once around the Earth, becoming the first human to travel in space.

It was the beginning of the Space Era for mankind and the day point out the important contribution of Space Science and technology in the modern world. His 108-minute flight gave him a permanent place in the history books as the first man in space. To this day, his achievement is celebrated in Russia and abroad.

He left Earth an ordinary pilot and returned an icon – in the Soviet Union, he was worshipped like a rockstar. After his space flight, he becomes famous around the world and receives numerous medals amongst which is “USSR Hero” – one of the highest distinctions in the USSR. The Soviet authorities immediately sent Gagarin “on tour” to 30 or so countries. He even had lunch with the Queen of England, Elisabeth II, and broke protocol by taking a photo with the monarch. The President of Egypt gave Gagarin the golden keys to the gates of Cairo and Alexandria, while in Havana Fidel Castro just hugged the hell out of him.

The International Day of Human Space Flight is considered the start-up of the space age and it celebrates the scientific and technical achievement in that industry. It also is a reminder of the ambition to use space for only peaceful reasons. Cosmonauts’ day also takes place on April the 12th celebrated in Russia and a number of other countries.

The idea for a worldwide celebration of space and technology sprang into existence at the United Nations’ Space Generation Advisory Council Conference in September of 2000. The new, worldwide Yuri’s Night was first celebrated on April 12, 2001, and has since become an annual international celebration. Fifty years after that momentous space flight, the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2011 proclaimed this day to be “International Day of Human Space Flight“, to mark the beginning of space flight by humans.

The General Assembly expressed its deep conviction of the common interest of mankind in promoting and expanding the exploration and use of outer space, as the province of all mankind, for peaceful purposes and in continuing efforts to extend to all States the benefits derived therefrom.

This historic achievement paved the way for space exploration for the benefit of all humanity, it leads the way for many other space explosions in the future.

Circling the earth in my orbital spaceship I marveled at its beauty. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty, not destroy it!” — Yuri Gagarin

On this day, space enthusiasts and science organizations conduct activities to promote the day, which includes photo exhibitions, conferences that showcases technology used for outer space, and the release of commemorative stamps.

As we honor the International Day of Human Space Flight, we celebrate not only the advances of space exploration, but also the technology that it has contributed to our everyday lives. While most of us will never set foot on the moon, we’re likely to use a byproduct of NASA technology every day.

We encourage everybody to celebrate this day, by reading books on space flights or watch a movie about space flight, or share the #InternationalDayofHumanSpaceFlight hashtag on your social media page.

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.