“And now ’tis man who dares assault the sky…
And as we come to claim our promised place,
Aim only to repay the good you gave,
And warm with human love the chill of space.”
-THOMAS G. BERGIN-
What a remarkable day it has been for human ingenuity and endurance!
The world as we knew it underwent a huge transformation on the 12th of April 1961. On this day, Yuri Gagarin launched on the first-ever human space journey. The space race and an unprecedented scientific exploration program were products of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union. Thus, the Soviets sent the first person into space on the 12th of April 1961.
In its resolution A/RES/65/271 of the 7th of April 2011, the General Assembly designated April 12 as the International Day of Human Space Flight to commemorate the start of the human space era each year at the international level. The resolution also reaffirmed the significant role that space science and technology play in achieving sustainable development goals, enhancing the well-being of states and people, and ensuring the realization of the aspiration of humanity to preserve outer space.
This occasion paved the path for space exploration that would be advantageous to all of humanity. Following Gagarin’s flight, the UN General Assembly came to the conclusion that advancing and expanding space research and utilization was in the best interests of everyone.
Gagarin’s space journey was later referred to by the UNGA as a wonderful history of human presence in outer space and the astonishing advances since the first human spaceflight. It is emphasized at this point that Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to orbit the Earth when the Soviet Union launched her into space just two years later. In July 1969, Neil Armstrong made history when he became the first person to set foot on the moon. Then, in July 1975, the Soviet Union and the United States launched the first joint human space mission, docking the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft. Accordingly, humanity achieved unprecedented progress in space exploration in just 15 years.