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International Day of Human Space Flight: UN Celebrates Yuri Gagarin And The Space Era

Apr 13, 2016 04:30 AM EDT

Neil Armstrong is probably the most popular astronaut, but his lesser known but equally significant counterpart, Yuri Gagarin, deserves the attention, too. Gagarin is the first man to journey into space. To commemorate that, the United Nations is celebrating the International Day of Human Space Flight this month.

The United Nations signed a resolution in 2011, declaring April 12 as the International Day of Human Space Flight to commemorate the "Space Era." According to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, the resolution was signed in 2011 during the 50th anniversary of Gagarin's journey to outer space.

The resolution clearly stated that the International Day of Human Space Flight will be celebrated to "reaffirm 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."

The International Day of Human Space Flight also aims to recognize the meaningful contribution of Yuri Gagarin to the scientific world, which started the "Space Era" or man's explorations in space. Although he is way behind Neil Armstrong's popularity, his contributions are equally as significant.

According to NASA's archive, the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space and the first human being to complete a 108-minute orbital flight in 1961. He was aboard the first manned spacescraft called Vostok 1. The former fighter pilot was mesmerized by the USSR's projects in space, that's why he decided to apply to the Vostok program regardless of the rigorous physical and psychological training.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon wanted the International Day of Human Space Flight to inspire the younger generation. In a statement, Ban Ki-Moon said, "I hope it will also inspire young people in particular to pursue their dreams and move the world towards new frontiers of knowledge and understanding".

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