International Day of Human Space Flight: History, significance and all about Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin


The International Day of Human Space Flight is celebrated globally on 12 April every year. The United Nations General Assembly marked the day in its resolution of 7 April, 2011 to honour the beginning of the space era for mankind. The UNGA reasserted the important contribution of space science and technology in achieving viable development goals and increasing the well-being of countries and people as well as ensuring the realisation of their longing to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes.


A Soviet cosmonaut named Yuri Gagarin manned the first human space flight that took off on 12 April, 1961, and opened a new chapter of human endeavour in outer space. Gagarin scripted history by becoming the first man who orbited Earth on Vostok 1 spacecraft. The flight took 108 minutes to land after launching from Baikonur at 9:07 am. This historic event initiated the way for space exploration for the benefit of mankind. The Soviet space programme commemorates Cosmonautics Day to mark the inception of the space era for mankind.


According to Astrophysicist Simonetta Di Pippo, the director of the United Nations Office to Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the first words of Gagarin from the space (“I feel well”) made them feel that they had achieved the dream to go beyond the Earth.

While discussing the significance of the day, the director of Roscosmos (Russian space agency), Dmitry Rogozin said in an interview with UNOOSA that it came after 16 years of World War II when the country was dealing with unfavourable circumstances, economic damage, loss of more than 200 million lives. He added that this special event indeed became the source of enduring national pride for the citizens.

On 4 October, 1957, the Soviet Union inaugurated the space era by launching Sputnik 1, the first man-made Earth satellite, into outer space.

After two years of Gagarin’s flight, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to orbit the Earth on Vostok 6 spacecraft.

On 20 July, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot upon the surface of the moon.

Apollo and Soyuz were the joint US-Russian space flight to launch the first international human mission in space on 17 July, 1975.

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International Day of Human Space Flight: History, significance and all about Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin
International Day of Human Space Flight: History, significance and all about Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin
ASE News
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