April 12 – World’s Aviation and Cosmonautics Day


On April 12, Russia and the DPR celebrate Cosmonautics Day, established by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR dated 9 April 1962 in honour of the first manned space flight, performed by a citizen of the Soviet Union Yuri Gagarin on the “Vostok” spacecraft on 12 April 1961.

The “Vostok” spacecraft with Yuri Gagarin on board spent 108 minutes in near-earth space, completing one revolution around the planet during this time. Then the descent vehicle of the spacecraft landed on the territory of the USSR. At an altitude of several kilometers from the Earth’s surface, the cosmonaut ejected and parachuted onto arable land near the Volga coast near the village of Smelovka of the Ternovsky district of the Saratov oblast.

The historic event paved the way for the exploration of outer space for the benefit of all mankind. Since the first flight into space, during this short period of time, man has visited the Moon, and automatic vehicles have visited many planets of the solar system.

New opportunities for space exploration emerged in 2000, when the International Space Station (ISS), a joint international project involving 15 countries, received its first crew. Flight control of the station around the clock is carried out from two Centres: Russian (in the city of Korolev near Moscow) and American (in Houston, Texas). The long-term operation of the ISS has become a convincing example of effective international cooperation in the field of space exploration. The ISS has become one of the symbols of our time and the outpost of humanity in space. Over the years that have passed since the first flight of Yuri Gagarin, more than 560 people from 40 countries of the world have visited space.

On Cosmonautics Day, designers, scientists, engineers, workers, cosmonauts are honoured, as well as those who work in the space industry, test space technology, are on duty at the consoles in the Flight Control Centre and in the command-measuring complex, receive, process and keep scientific space documentation received from spacecraft and orbital stations.

On 7 April 2011, at the initiative of Russia, the UN General Assembly proclaimed April 12 the International Day of Human Space Flight on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first step in space exploration by the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. This resolution was co-sponsored by over 60 UN member states.

The UN General Assembly expressed its deep conviction in the common interest of humankind in promoting the exploration and use of outer space, which is the heritage of all mankind, in expanding the scope of this activity and in continuing to make efforts to ensure possibilities for enjoying the benefits associated with this by states .

It is very important to remember that space science and technology has been helping humankind for many years to solve problems related, in particular, to climate change, food security, global health and humanitarian assistance. After all, the celebration of the International Day of Human Space Flight reminds of the cohesion of mankind and the need to work together to successfully solve common problems.