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Published on Apr 11, 2011
Floating high above the Earth, the Expedition 27 crew aboard the International Space Station sends their special message to the world to wish them a Happy Yuri's Night! Expedition 27 includes Commander Dmitry Kondratyev and Flight Engineers Andrey Borisenko, Catherine 'Cady' Coleman, Alexander Samokutyaev, Paolo Nespoli and Ron Garan.
Human Spaceflight became a reality 50 years ago with the launch of a bell-shaped capsule called "Vostok 1" on April 12th, 1961. The capsule was carrying Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who took his place in history as the first human to leave the bounds of Earth and enter outer space.
Exactly 20 years later, the United States embarked on a new era in spaceflight with the inaugural launch of a new type of spaceship — the Space Shuttle (April 12th, 1981). Designed to carry a larger crew and large volumes of cargo to orbit, the Space Shuttles became synonymous with human spaceflight for an entirely new generation of young people.
When the next 20-year point arrived, that generation (often called "Gen X") laid a new space milestone by connecting thousands of people around the world to celebrate and honor the past, while building a stairway to the future. That event was Yuri's Night, and it continues to bring the excitement, passion and promise of space travel closer to people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds.