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Russia celebrates Cosmonautics Day

Also, April 12 is the International Day of Human Space Flight

MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. Russia celebrates April 12 as Cosmonautics Day, established under a decree by the USSR Supreme Soviet (the Soviet Union’s national legislature) of April 9, 1962 in honor of the world’s first space flight by a Soviet citizen. The idea of introducing this date to the calendar of the nation’s memorable events was proposed by the Soviet Union’s second cosmonaut to go on a space mission, German Titov.

Also, April 12 is the International Day of Human Space Flight (declared by the UN General Assembly session on April 7, 2011 in honor of the beginning of humanity’s space era).

First manned space flight

On April 12, 1961 Soviet cosmonaut Yury Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth. His spacecraft Vostok blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome to travel around the globe once. Gagarin successfully landed in Russia’s Saratov Region. His flight lasted 108 minutes. At the moment of blastoff Gagarin dropped a remark that instantly went down in history: "Off we go!" The space flight earned him the title of The Hero of the Soviet Union.

At the end of April 1961 Yury Gagarin began a "world tour of peace." During the next three years he visited about 30 countries, including Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Finland, Britain, Poland, Cuba, Brazil, Canada, Hungary, India, Egypt, Austria, Japan, France, Mexico, East Germany, Sweden and Norway.

After his truly historic accomplishment Gagarin continued to work at the Cosmonauts Training Center. Starting from May 1961 he was the cosmonauts’ training team’s commander and senior instructor. Later, he took the position of deputy chief of the Cosmonauts Training Center’s space flight training program. Gagarin was a standby of his colleague, Vladimir Komarov, who died on April 24, 1967 while returning after a test flight on the Soyuz-1 spacecraft. Gagarin was not destined go to space again. The world’s first cosmonaut died in an air crash while performing a test flight on a MiG-15UTI training fighter jet together with instructor Vladimir Seryogin on March 27, 1968.

Festive events

On Cosmonautics Day all of Russia’s regions hold special festive events, exhibitions, excursions, exhibitions, festivals, concerts, flash-mobs, quests and art contests for children.