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Update, April 11:  Although it is not labeled as such, the Scowcroft Center at the Atlantic Council is holding a webinar on “The Future of Security in Space: A 3o-Year U.S. Strategy” tomorrow and referred to it in the context of this anniversary of human spaceflight in a tweet today.

Update, April 10:  The Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center will hold a webinar on April 13 to discuss “THE SOVIET UNION’S LEAP FORWARD: THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF YURI GAGARIN’S SPACE FLIGHT” from 10:00-11:30 am ET.

Original entry: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin opened the era of human spaceflight on April 12, 1961 by becoming the first human being to orbit Earth. We have not seen any notices of special events to celebrate the anniversary other than the annual Yuri’s Night celebrations around the world.

Gagarin’s feat exacerbated the U.S.-Soviet “space race” of that era. Three weeks later on May 5 the United States responded by launching Alan Shepard on a suborbital flight. Three weeks after that, on May 25, President John F. Kennedy stood before the U.S. Congress and called on the country to commit to sending a man to the Moon and returning him safely to Earth by the end of the decade.

The first American to orbit the Earth was John Glenn on February 20, 1962.

Gagarin perished in 1968 in a MIG-15 training accident.


April 12
8:00 am - 11:00 pm