So much going on, it's hard to keep up! As evidenced by the light writing this past month, and concentration on newer social media platforms, I've been exploring new events & new web sites, and making new friends. Of course, however, some annual events are not to be ignored... and over the next few days, we will be celebrating three of the most famous voyages in history!
Today is the anniversary of the first human orbit around planet Earth, completed by Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on April 12th, 1961 in a craft named Vostok 1. In 1962, the Soviet Union established День Космонавтики, or "Cosmonautics Day," to commemorate this amazing achievement.
Юрий Гагарин 1934 - 1968
Tonight, people on 7 continents in 50 countries will hold over 200 events to commemorate Yuri, so find the closest one to you at Yuri's Night Net!
You can also follow the @pillownaut twitter feed today for a #TriviaThursday series all about Yuri, his test pilot days, training for space, honors and awards, family and career! I did a lot of research on this one, so come join me! :)
John Young and Bob Crippen in 1981
Today is also the anniversary of the very first launch of the NASA Space Shuttle program, whereby the Orbiter Vehicle (OV-102) Columbia made its maiden flight precisely on the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first space flight! Coincidence? Actually, yes.
STS-1 was scrubbed on the first launch attempt, then lifted off on the second attempt on April 12, 1981. Pilot Bob Crippen and commander John Young performed thorough checks of all the shuttle systems, recorded the orbiters "stresses" and overall performance, and returned to Earth safely, proving the space-worthiness of a craft that would take us to low Earth-orbit (LEO) for the next three decades.
Of course, these are the 51st and 31st anniversaries, probably seeming somewhat anti-climatic considering the 100th anniversary of the Titanic voyage is this weekend. We had some pretty good blowouts last year, so we won't impinge upon their commemorative solemnity. Take it, Titanic passengers. RIP.