Humanity collectively had its first out-of-this-world experience and ventured into space to explore the universe beyond Earth 62 years ago today, on 12 April 1961.
The world commemorates International Day of Human Space Flight on 12 April, a day when Soviet pilot and cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel to space when he orbited Earth. This historical event opened a world of possibilities and opportunities for humankind.
Many remember astronaut Neil Armstrong’s famous “One small step for Man, one giant leap for Mankind” quote from just 20 years ago when he landed on the moon, but few remember Gagarin’s simple appreciation of our planet in 1961.
“I see Earth! It is so beautiful,” said Gagarin during the mission as he looked back home from space.
Decades later, scientists and astronauts continue to explore the universe in pursuit of a better life for humanity as they conduct research on a variety of subjects including technology, science, health, and food security amongst others.
International Day of Human Space Flight
In 2011, the United Nations declared the 12th of April ‘International Day of Human Space Flight’ in memory of Gagarin’s maiden voyage in 1961.
It says the day is meant “to celebrate each year at the international level [as] the beginning of the space era for mankind, reaffirming the important contribution of space science and technology in achieving sustainable development goals and increasing the well-being of States and peoples, as well as ensuring the realization of their aspiration to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes.”
Source: United Nations