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Russia marks 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first space flight

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The Vostok 1 spacecraft had launched Gagarin into space on April 12, 1961.

MOSCOW (BNS): On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin heralded a new chapter in the history of mankind. He had reached Earth’s orbit for the first time!

Fifty years after that historic flight which triggered space race, man’s space ambitions have taken him to the Moon while experiments are going on to land on Mars and beyond.

Russia Tuesday marked the 50 long years of this historic feat which President Dmitry Medvedev described as a "revolutionary event" that "changed the world."

"I believe it was a truly revolutionary event, a highly symbolic one. It was a tremendous achievement of Soviet cosmonautics, which divided the world into 'before' and 'after the flight,' what has been termed the space era," Medvedev told China's CCTV channel in an interview.

The President said he was proud of the Soviet cosmonaut's maiden human space flight 50 years ago this day, adding that his country still dreams of conquering other planets and flying to distant stars.

Russia commemorated the grand day by organising nationwide public events, including rallies, concerts and inauguration of new museums, to pay tribute to the legendary space voyager Gagarin who became an iconic figure.

The commemorations began last week with the launch of a Soyuz manned spacecraft named ‘Gagarin’ from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on April 5.

The Russian cosmonaut had blasted off from the same spaceport in Kazakhstan 50 years ago. Launched on a Vostok 1 spacecraft, Gagarin made a 108-minute long orbital rotation of the Earth, thereby becoming the first man to travel into space.

Russia's veteran space scientists had gathered at the spaceport Monday night to mark the day.

President Medvedev has also ordered a 50 gun salute to mark the grand event. The Defence Ministry has been ordered to arrange for 50 gun salute with fireworks shells at 2200 hours (local time) Tuesday.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared April 12 as the 'International Day of Human Space Flight.'

Russia celebrates April 12 every year as the ‘Day of Cosmonautics’ - a national holiday.

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Gagarin  Russia  
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