Russians Gear Up for Gagarin 50th Anniversary Celebrations

Russia will name the Soyuz spacecraft scheduled to launch to the International Space Station on March 30 after Yuri Gagarin, who became the first human in space almost 50 years before on April 12, 1961.

This is just one of many commemorations being planned to mark the historic anniversary. The Voice of Russia reports that Roscosmos has invited the heads of 49 space agencies as well as astronauts and cosmonauts who have flow on Soviet and Russian spacecraft to attend gala celebrations in Moscow on April 12.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Organizational Committee at the Mission Control Center on Tuesday. Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov gave him a briefing on the status of preparations. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Chief Sergey Krikalev reported about the celebrations set for Star City. Smolensk Region Gov. Sergey Antufiev told Putin about events planned for Gagarin’s native land.

The Saratov Region, where Gargarin landed, is also planning commemorative events on April 11-12.  Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts have been invited to attend the festivities, which will include a party, concert, parachute jumps, and an aviation show. A space gallery will be opened at Gagarin’s landing spot.

Other celebrations are being held abroad, including in Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Poland.

Last month, Roscosmos Deputy Head Vitaly Davydov told news media that the space agency is open to any additional ideas for celebrating Gagarin’s historic flight.

“This is the plan of major events; there are also similar plans in the regions of Russia. If some interesting proposals appear, we will consider incorporating them into the plan,” Davydov said.

In December, Perminov presented a new book titled, “Seven Victories in Space, or 42 events of national space history which are worth knowing…”, to the Russian Father Frost during the latter’s visit to the Mission Control Center.

The book published by Rossisky Cosmos and EKSMO, features seven main achievements in the history of space exploration in Soviet history, including Gagarin’s flight, Sputnik, Alexei Leonov’s EVA, Lunokhod and more.