MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia is celebrating Cosmonautics Day on Tuesday to commemorate the first manned space flight on April 12, 1961, when a booster rocket took into orbit the Vostok spacecraft with the first cosmonaut on board – Soviet citizen Yuri Gagarin.
"It is hard to overestimate the importance of [the first] man's exit into outer space – the flight of the Vostok [spacecraft] marked a new era in the history of civilization, confirmed outstanding contribution of our country to world progress. Gagarin's deed represents heroism and selflessness of the Russian people, their capabilities to be at their best in [solving] the most sophisticated and truly epochal problems," the Russian foreign minister told the RT broadcaster.
Since 2001, many countries around the world have been holding Yuri's Night sponsored by the Space Generation Advisory Council, an official adviser of the UN program on using space equipment. It focuses on two events: the first manned space flight (April 12, 1961, Soviet Union) and the first manned flight under the Space Shuttle program (April 12, 1981, United States).