Russia celebrates Cosmonautics Day

Russia is marking Cosmonautics Day today. The holiday was established by a decree of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union on April 9, 1962 to mark the first ever manned space flight.

Forty-three years ago, on April 12, 1961, Yury Gagarin made the first space flight in humanity's history, which lasted 108 minutes. Gagarin ushered in an era of the practical exploration of space and gave a powerful impetus to technological progress, to the development of fundamental and applied science across the world.

Ninety-eight Soviet and Russian cosmonauts have performed space missions since then.

The crew of the International Space Station (ISS) will mark the event by performing their daily routine, the Russian Mission Control centre told RIA Novosti. Although Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri and American astronaut Michael Foale are not expected to have a holiday on Russia's Cosmonautics Day, they will have several communication sessions with Earth.

Major General Vasily Tsibliyev, chief of the Gagarin Cosmonauts' Training Centre, bestowed jubilee medals on the first woman cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova and Valery Bykovsky, Vladimir Shatalov, Boris Volynov and Viktor Gorbatko from the first squad of cosmonauts.

Functions and celebratory events will take place at the Federal Space Agency (formerly known as Rosaviakosmos) in Moscow, and in many cities connected to space industry across Russia.

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