Russia will fete the memory of first man in space Yuri Gagarin on Tuesday with a 50-gun salute even as space officials, cosmonauts and astronauts from all over the world join celebrations in the Russian capital.
In a break with tradition in a country which unlike the U.S. space agency NASA never gives names to its spacecraft, Moscow named a Soyuz spaceship after Gagarin which last week brought a new team to the International Space Station (ISS).
President Dmitry Medvedev issued a decree ordering a 50-salvo fireworks salute in Moscow to mark the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s trail-blazing 79-minute flight around the Earth on April 12, 1961.
April 12 is marked in Russia every year as Day of Cosmonautics, but from this year on it will be celebrated throughout the world. The U.N. General Assembly last Thursday adopted a Russia-moved resolution declaring April 12 “International Day of Human Space Flight.”
Russian space agency Roskosmos has invited all heads of space agencies, Soviet and Russian cosmonauts, as well as pioneering space travelers from other countries to Moscow to take part in celebrations Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics.
Kremlin’s archives have declassified all hitherto secret documents related to Gagarin’s flight and his death seven years later in jet crash. The documents show just how dangerous the man’s first flight into space was, with the cosmonaut’s capsule rotating wildly in orbit and the service module failing to separate completing from the descent module to and dragging behind till the connecting cables burnt in the atmosphere. The opened archives have also put at rest bizarre rumours that Gagarin was not killed in a plane crash but was murdered on Kremlin orders.
A Russian film studio has announced the start of shooting a feature film about Gagarin and his historic flight. Surprisingly, it will the first movie devoted to Gagarin ever made in Russia.