First Man in Space

For more than five decades, humans have been suiting up and riding rockets to escape the

bonds of Earth, but the anniversary of that historic first flight, which blasted off 51 years ago this week, takes center stage on April 12. On 12 April 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space when he launched into orbit on the Vostok 3KA-3 spacecraft (Vostok 1). To mark the groundbreaking flight of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961, space geeks worldwide will revel at themed parties, and a filmmaker will tweet the mission’s audio transcript live to coincide with the actual time of the flight. British filmmaker Chris Riley’s movie “First Orbit” was released last year on YouTube, and is now out on DVD and Blu-ray. The film uses recently taken footage from the International Space Station to coincide with the exact flight path and timing of Gagarin’s flight to give viewers a taste of what Yuri saw. For the anniversary, Riley plans to tweet a live running commentary of the film, which will be screening on YouTube at 2:07 a.m. EDT (0607 GMT), the exact minute of Gagarin’s launchall those years ago. He will include snippets of what Gagarin said, as well as descriptions of the places he was passing over at the time. Others from around the world will tweet the mission transcript in many other languages, using the Twitter hashtag #firstorbit. The tradition of Yuri’s Night began in 2001 to commemorate the anniversary of Gagarin’s flight, as well as the anniversary of NASA’s first space shuttle launch, which occurred on April 12, 1981. According to the event’s organizers last year, for the 50-year mark of the Vostok 1 flight, more than 100,000 people attended 567 Yuri’s Night parties in 75 countries on all 7 continents.