International Day of Human Space Flight
The General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/65/271 of 7 April 2011, declared 12 April 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.”
12 April 1961 was the date of the first human space flight, carried out by Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet citizen. This historic event opened the way for space exploration for the benefit of all humanity. The General Assembly expressed its deep conviction of the common interest of mankind in promoting and expanding the exploration and use of outer space, as the province of all mankind, for peaceful purposes and in continuing efforts to extend to all States the benefits derived there from.
He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961.
Gagarin became an international celebrity, and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, the nation's highest honour. Vostok 1 marked his only spaceflight, but he served as backup crew to the Soyuz 1 mission (which ended in a fatal crash). Gagarin later became deputy training director of the Cosmonaut Training Centre outside Moscow, which was later named after him. Gagarin died in 1968 when the MiG 15 training jet he was piloting crashed.
Vostok 1 was the first spaceflight in the Vostok program and the first human spaceflight in history. The Vostok 3KA spacecraft was launched on April 12, 1961. The flight took Yuri Gagarin, a cosmonaut from the Soviet Union, into space. The flight marked the first time that a human entered outer space, as well as the first orbital flight of a manned vehicle. Vostok 1 was launched by the Soviet space program, and was designed by Soviet engineers guided by Sergei Korolev under the supervision of Kerim Kerimov and others.
The spaceflight consisted of a single orbit of the Earth (to this date the shortest orbital manned spaceflight). According to official records, the spaceflight took 108 minutes from launch to landing. As planned, Gagarin landed separately from his spacecraft, having ejected with a parachute 7 km (23,000 ft) above ground. Due to the secrecy surrounding the Soviet space program at the time, many details of the spaceflight only came to light years later, and several details in the original press releases turned out to be false.
The world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, had been put into orbit by the Soviets in 1957, and this could be considered the beginning of the Space Race between the Soviet Union and the United States. Both nations wanted to develop their spaceflight technology quickly, and in particular, both wanted to be the first to launch a successful human spaceflight. The Soviet programme for doing this was the Vostok programme. Prior to a manned spaceflight, the Soviets launched several precursor unmanned missions between May 1960 and March 1961, to test and develop the Vostok rocket and Vostok spacecraft technology. These missions had varied success, but the final two unmanned missions—Korabl-Sputnik 4 and Korabl-Sputnik 5—were outright successes, opening the door for a manned flight.