Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 12th- Cosmonautics Day (Russia)

April 12th is honored as Cosmonautics Day in Russia because it was the day Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union made his historic flight as the first human in space. Yuri Gagarin took the 108 minute orbit around the Earth at 9:08 AM aboard the capsule Vostok 1. The groundbreaking flight left Gagarin both a national and international hero. 

Celebration of Cosmonautics Day in Russia begins with a commemoration ceremony in Korolyov, which is often referred to as the "cradle of space exploration". Participants of the celebration then advance to the Kremlin Wall Necropolis in the Red Square to pay their respects at Yuri Gagarin's grave, which is located alongside the graves of other Soviet leaders and heroes. Next, the group proceeds through Cosmonauts Alley which exhibits busts of significant participants in the Soviet space program including Yuri Gagarin and people such as Sergei Korolyov and Valentina Tereshkova. At the end of the avenue, the procession comes to a close at the monument "To the Conquerors of Space", which was assembled in 1964 to honor Russia's achievement in space exploration. 

Possibly the best part of this holiday is the fact that on April 7, 2011, the UN General Assembly made history by adopting a resolution that declares April 12th the International Day of Manned Space Flight. As a result of this, the holiday will from now on be celebrated not only in Russia, but also throughout the world. 

Yuri Gagarin, Age 27

The Vostok 1 Capsule on display at the 
RKK Energiya Museum


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