APR 11, 2021 9:50 PM PDT

Celebrating the International Day of Human Space Flight

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Earth's first satellite, Sputnik I, was launched into orbit on October 4, 1957. A few years later, Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit Earth on April 12, 1961, in the Vostok I spacecraft. Gagarin's flight lasted 108 minutes and started the age of human spaceflight.

Image credit: Public domain / NASA

The first woman to orbit the Earth was Valentina Tereshkova; her mission on the Vostok 6 was on June 16, 1963, and lasted three days, when she was 26 years old. She is still the youngest woman to have flown in space and the only woman to have flown solo.

The first person to set foot on the Moon was Neil Armstrong, who did so on July 20, 1969, during the Apollo 11 mission that lasted from July 16 to July 24, 1969.

When the Apollo and Soyuz spacecrafts docked on July 17, 1975, it was the first time an international mission happened in space.

The space shuttle program in the United States began with the first flight of the space shuttle Columbia, from April 12, 1981, to April 14, 1981. Two crew members were on that mission, which was called STS-1 (Space Transportation System-1). They were mission commander and Astronaut John Young, who had been on four previous spaceflights including a 1972 moonwalk. The other crew member was Navy test pilot Bob Crippen,  who went on to command three more shuttle missions.

International efforts have also maintained the international Space Station for the past decade.

On April 7, 2011, the UN's General Assembly made the designated April 12 as the International Day of Human Space Flight “to celebrate each year at the international level 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.”

Sources: NASA, UN

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
MAR 24, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Molecules Containing Carbon Found in Space
MAR 24, 2021
Molecules Containing Carbon Found in Space
It's thought that most carbon found in space is contained in big molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ( ...
APR 01, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Detect X-rays from Uranus for First Time
APR 01, 2021
Astronomers Detect X-rays from Uranus for First Time
Until now, astronomers had detected X-rays from every planet in our solar system apart from the two Ice Giants: Uranus a ...
MAY 23, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Why Do Some Stars Vanish from Space?
MAY 23, 2021
Why Do Some Stars Vanish from Space?
Current theories suggest that stars undergo changes on timescales of millions or billions of years, and that their end i ...
MAY 30, 2021
Space & Astronomy
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
MAY 30, 2021
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
A detailed cross-section of another galaxy, known as YGC 10738, has cast previous ideas of how the Milky Way was formed ...
JUL 20, 2021
Space & Astronomy
The Moon Landing, 52 Years Later
JUL 20, 2021
The Moon Landing, 52 Years Later
On July 16, 1969 the Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral (Cape Kennedy) Florida. Four days later, astr ...
AUG 06, 2021
Space & Astronomy
New Details About the Far Side of the Moon are Revealed
AUG 06, 2021
New Details About the Far Side of the Moon are Revealed
It takes 27,322 days for it to orbit Earth and 27 days for the Moon to rotate once on its axis. We can't detect that mot ...
Loading Comments...