"Exactly 59 years ago Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first [human to fly into space]," Skripochka, who is the commander of Expedition 62, said in a video address released by Russian space agency Roscosmos.
Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin said in a congratulatory video address released by the space agency that Cosmonautics Day is "one of the best and warmest" holidays in Russia. Rogozin stressed the importance of maintaining space industry development and emphasized the need to nurture a new generation of specialists who can ensure that Russia remains the leader of world cosmonautics.
Космонавты Роскосмоса Олег Скрипочка, Анатолий Иванишин и Иван Вагнер с борта Международной космической станции поздравляют всех землян с Днём космонавтики 🚀👨🚀 pic.twitter.com/EzoChxV4UC— РОСКОСМОС (@roscosmos) April 12, 2020
This is the first time that Cosmonautics Day is celebrated remotely, amid the coronavirus pandemic. A traditional concert in the Moscow Kremlin has been postponed, all celebratory events will be held online.
"As part of Cosmonautics Day celebrations, a number of events have been planned, which will be held online because of the epidemiological situation in the country and in the world," a Roscosmos spokesperson told Sputnik.
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated the ISS crew with the upcoming holiday on Friday, via video link.
Cosmonautics Day is celebrated in Russia, as well as some former USSR countries, to commemorate the first ever manned space flight, which was carried out by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on 12 April 1961. Other countries celebrate the International Day of Human Space Flight on 12 April.