On April 12, Russia celebrates Cosmonautics Day. The first manned space flight was made on 12 April 1961 by the 27-year-old Russian Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Soviet cosmonaut Gagarin circled the Earth for 1 hour and 48 minutes aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft. In 2011, at the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly, 12 April was declared as the International Day of Human Space Flight in dedication of this milestone event for humanity.
CIS countries widely celebrate this day honoring the late Yuri Gagarin – the symbol of heroism and self-devotion. His figure generated a truly global appeal and helped shift the paradigm of bipolar standoff between USA and USSR, resulting in deepening of collaboration on space flights for decades on with common US-Soviet and US-Russian programs like Soyuz-Appollo and MIR International Space Station.
Nowadays the commemoration ceremony on Cosmonautics Day starts in the city of Korolyov, near Gagarin’s statue. Participants then proceed under police escort to Red Square for a visit to Gagarin’s grave in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis, and continue to Cosmonauts Alley, near the Monument to the Conquerors of Space. Finally, the festivities conclude with a visit to the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow city center.
Ural Federal University also has its own special attitude to space exploration. For nearly 50 years the university is engaged in astronomical observations at the Kourovka observatory. Physicists of past decades and of present day develop innovative ideas on aeronautics, space rocket engines, new advanced materials.
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