1903 - The Wright brothers are credited with the first powered flight. Their craft flies 120 feet in 12 seconds.
1927 - Charles Lindbergh makes the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight.
1947 - Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier in the Bell X-1.
1957 - Sputnik becomes the first artificial satellite to be put into orbit.
1959 - The X-15 flies faster and higher than any other plane. It’s pilots begin to experience weightlessness as they near the edge of the atmosphere.
April 12, 1961 - Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space and first to orbit the Earth.
July 20, 1969 - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to set foot on the moon’s surface.
1975 - The Apollo-Soyuz project is the first international cooperation in space.
April 12, 1981 - The Space Shuttle Columbia becomes the first reusable spacecraft when it launches from the Kennedy Space Center.
1998 - The first two modules of the International Space Station are launched and joined together in orbit.
2000 - The first crew of the International Space Station arrives and kicks off a 10+ year permanent human presence in space.
October 4, 2004 - SpaceShipOne wins the Ansari X Prize by becoming the first commercial spacecraft to fly into space not once, but twice in two weeks.
We could continue and even add more detail, but you see just how far we have come in such a short period of time.
Why do we bring all this up?
Well, this being the 50th anniversary of human space flight, we encourage you to attend a Yuri’s Night event in your area.
What is Yuri’s Night?
Yuri’s Night is a celebration made up of many different events around the world. (At the time of writing this post 329 events in 61 countries on 6 continents on 2 worlds are scheduled. There is an event on the ISS this year, hence the 2 worlds.) It is a celebration of human space flight and of course of human achievements. It celebrates the past, present and looks to the future of human space flight/exploration.
Where is the nearest event to me?
Check the map on the official Yuri’s Night webpage...It lists all parties and gives details.
What to do next?
Attend your nearest Yuri’s Night event and then spread the word about Yuri’s Night and all that humankind has accomplished in space. Get other people excited. Enthusiasm is definitely contagious. Consider hosting your own event next year! (If you’re a teacher or work in a school, here are tips for hosting your own Yuri’s Night party.)
Beyond Yuri’s Night
Get connected with astronauts in space and back on Earth, by using Twitter. More and more astronauts are using Twitter these days and it is surprisingly easy to contact them. Check the NASA site for more details including their handles.
Check out Fragile Oasis - The Space Blog Focused on Planet Earth, a blog founded by Astronaut Ron Garan and written by fellow astronauts. Ron is currently heading to the International Space Station as part of the Expedition 27 crew. He will be tweeting and blogging from space.
Check out astronaut Paolo Nespoli’s Flickr page where he shares great photos of our lovely planet from the ISS.