Today Yuri Gagarin would have been 90 years old. “Yuri” was a Soviet cosmonaut and pilot and became the first human in space, completing an orbit in his Vostok spacecraft on 12 April 1961.
Gagarin was killed in a training accident (March 1968) when the jet he was piloting crashed. Gagarin’s death was (and still is) was fodder for conspiracy theorists as it apparently completely isn’t certain. Official reports indicate weather was a factor.
Today the anniversary of significant space exploration milestones is marked by a worldwide celebration named for Gagarin – Yuri’s Night.
Yuri’s Night began on 12 April 2001, 40 years after the historic and world-changing flight. One of the main goals is to increase public interest in space exploration. It also happens that the flight of STS-1, the very first Space Shuttle mission was launched on 12 April 1981.
I always have fun on Yuri’s Night, after a long, cold winter it will feel good to get out.
Yuri’s night isn’t just big, it’s HUGE! Last year something like 350 star parties were held in almost 60 countries and many-many more on-line celebrations.
Look for a celebration near you:
The image above comes from NASA, see the caption and a link to archival Gagarin video here.