Fifty years ago spaceflight became a reality; and Yuri Gagarin was at the center of it all.
In honor of Gagarin, the first man in space, the world over is celebrating the 50th anniversary his famous first flight this Tuesday. The flagship event, hosted by the NASA Ames Research Center, has over 12,000 attendees. There are also events in New York, Moscow, Tokyo, Sydney, the South Pole, and even online in Second Life.
In Hampton, Va., NASA is holding a celebration at the Virginia Air & Space Center. The event costs $10 to enter and will combine space-aged technology with music, food and games. All told, there will be more than 462 events in 71 countries on six continents in two worlds (Second Life is a virtual game).
A complete listing of the events can be found here.
Fifty years ago, Gagarin, a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut, became the first human to journey into outer space. Gagarin orbited space aboard the Vostok spacecraft. He died during a trianing flight in 1968. His ashes are buried under the Kremlin wall.
April 12, the day Gagarin went into space has become famous in space for another reason. On April 12, 1981, the first ever space shuttle launched. The program has gone on to send hundreds of crews into space. The space shuttles will be retired this summer. NASA and other space agencies plan on celebrating both events.