Saturday, April 10, 2010

Yuri's Night Celebrations Around Earth

Forty-seven cities around the globe held multiple parties this evening in celebration of the first human space flight forty-nine years ago.

Known as Yuri's Night, thousands of average citizens up to astronauts themselves attended parties with live bands, food, and in some places aerospace artifacts and rides in celebration of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's launch into the vast unknown on April 12, 1961.

In America, the parties also celebrated the first space shuttle launch, STS-1, which flew twenty years to the day of Gagarin's flight.

The pilot of the first space shuttle flight, Robert Crippen, discussed recently what Yuri's Night meant to him, "It should be a celebration of what humans are capable of; and it should be a celebration of, we need to learn to work together better. I hope it's a great celebration for everyone."

This year's celebration marks the tenth anniversary of the first Yuri's Night, and has become the largest of them all.

Each celebration location gave their own traditional Yuri's Night toast.

Celebrations were held in such regions from the crew aboard the International Space Station 225 miles above earth; to the party held at the Astronaut Hall of Fame at Cape Canaveral; a registered party in southern Kenya; over to London and several around Europe.

People not attending parties were connected tonight by computer and their internet driven phone as they used Twitter to type toast's of their own. Several of the celebrations were web-cam aired on a few Internet sites as well.

At a party at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, over 500 people attended including two-time shuttle astronaut Roger Crouch who flew in 1997.

Bands and science fair exhibits were the draw at NASA's Ames Research Center in California. Even the Ames center director was dressed as a Star Trek character.

Station flight engineer T.J. Creamer recorded a message in honor of the occasion, "The first word's spoken in space were "I see the earth, it is beautiful. Yuri Gag spoke those words in Russian. But we're continuing that tradition in multiple languages. We hope that you have an out of this world time, also, on Yuri's Night".

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