Human Space Flight Day: Remembering Gagarin’s flight 54 years ago
On this day, fifty-four years ago, a man called Yuri Gagarin became the first person in the world to fly into space. Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut, boarded the Vostok 1 – the first human spaceflight in history—and spent 108 minutes orbiting the Earth. To commemorate the day, the United Nations General Assembly has declared April 12 as the International Day of Human Space Flight.
The UN body did so “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.” Here is a short video of Gagarin boarding the Vostok 1 and taking off for space. In the last radio communication before blasting off into space, Gagarin informally uttered “Poyekhali!” (Let’s go) in response to the launch control room’s final instructions. The phrase is often considered as the first words of the space age.
Yuri Gagarin saying “Poyekhali” was recorded and archived. Here is the two-second audio clip of Gagarin uttering the word. According to United Nations website, on April 12, 2011, the UN Postal Administration (UNPA) issued three stamps of denominations $0.44, CHF 0.50 and € 0.35 in a mini-sheet format of sixteen stamps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of human space flight.