2021 A to Z: Letter Y…Weird Holidays

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2021 A to Z: Letter Y

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Yuri’s Night (April 12)

Yuri’s Night refers to April 12, the anniversary of Vostok 1, on which Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space on that day in 1961. It advanced Russia in the Great Space Race against the United States. It was also the day the first American space shuttle (Columbia) was launched in 1981.

On March 27, 1968, Yuri Gagarin perished during a routine training flight when his jet crashed outside a small town. His ashes were then placed in a niche in the Kremlin wall. After his death, his hometown of Gzhatsk was renamed ‘Gagarin’ in his honor. 

Plaque indicating Gagarin’s interment in the Kremlin Wall

Vostok I

According to NASA,  because of concerns of adverse reactions to due to experiencing weightlessness, the manual controls on the spacecraft were locked prior to launch and the entire flight was under the control of ground personnel. After one orbit, the spacecraft reentered the atmosphere and landed in Kazakhstan (about 26 km southwest of Engels) 1 hour 48 minutes after launch.

Vostok I capsule used by Yuri Gagarin in first space flight. Now on display at the RKK Energiya Museum outside of Moscow. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia .

Ira’s Space Age Film Collection

Finally, if you have about fifteen minutes, check out Ira’s Space Age Film Collection of odd reels and short subjects!

Featured image: “Y is for Youth” from Digital Synopsis, created by UK based graphic designers Liam + Jord

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