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Russia Celebrates Cosmonautics Day

Published: April 14, 2014 (Issue # 1805)



  • Yury Gagarin, the first cosmonaut in the world, remained a down-to-earth and approachable person to the end of his life.
    Photo: AP

Russia celebrates Cosmonautics Day every April 12. This holiday was instituted by the April 9, 1962 executive order of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet (Parliament) in honor of the first manned space flight.

On April 12, 1961, a launch vehicle orbited the Vostok spacecraft with the first cosmonaut, Soviet citizen Yury Gagarin, on board.

After circling the Earth once, the spacecrafts descent module landed in the USSR. The cosmonaut ejected at an altitude of several kilometers above the ground and parachuted into a field at 10.55 am Moscow Time. He landed on the bank of the Volga River near the village of Smelovka in the Ternovsky District of the Saratov Region.

The flight lasted 108 minutes, and the launch of the worlds first manned spacecraft was supervised by Sergei Korolev, Anatoly Kirillov and Leonid Voskresensky.

This history-making event paved the way for space exploration for the benefit of the entire humankind. New opportunities in space were created in 2000 when the first crew boarded the International Space Station (ISS), a joint space project involving 15 countries.

The station is tracked 24 hours a day from the Russian Federal Space Agencys Mission Control Center in Korolev near Moscow and NASA's Mission Control Center at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Since the start of its operation, the ISS has gradually turned into a huge laboratory in near-Earth space.

In the years following Yury Gagarins first space flight, over 500 people from almost 40 countries have flown in space.

In 1962, Pilot-Cosmonaut of the USSR Gherman Titov, Yury Gagarins backup man during the first space flight, voiced an initiative to institute Cosmonautics Day in the USSR. He also suggested calling on the UN, on behalf of the Soviet Government, to institute World Cosmonautics Day.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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