On 12 April 1961, Russian Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (1934-1968) travelled into space for the first time, becoming the first cosmonaut in history. He completed the first orbital flight around the Earth in one hour and 48 minutes on board the Vostok 1 space capsule, 320 km above the Earth’s surface, covering some 41,000 km at a speed of 27,000 km/hour (a speed never before achieved by a man).
“I see the Earth, it’s blue. I feel good. How beautiful it is,” were Gagarin’s first words from space, aboard the Vostok capsule. They marked the start of an adventure that began at the then highly secret Russian base at Baikonur, in Kazakhstan.
To commemorate the Russian cosmonaut’s feat, in 2011 the United Nations proclaimed 12 April as the International Day of Human Space Flight to celebrate the beginning of space travel for mankind, the importance of the scientific and technological contribution made by space missions in achieving goals for the development of nations and people while maintaining peaceful international relations in space.
This year, the day celebrating the flight of astronauts looks to the future: the Moon and Mars are in fact the next goals declared by the United States, which envisages its astronauts walking on the Moon again in 2024.