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Yuri’s Night To Be Observed Worldwide

April 12 is a memorable date, the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s 108-minute orbital flight in 1961. It’s also the date, some twenty years later, when NASA launched Columbia, the first Space Shuttle (and boy do I remember the trepidation of watching that one go up). Celebrating these milestones is Yuri’s Night, marked by 119 parties scheduled in 32 countries on six continents. Check the celebration site for parties near you. And for stay-at-homes, be aware that Second Life is hosting one of the venues online. Thanks to Frank Taylor for the tip on this.

And note (via Larry Klaes) David S. F. Portree’s fine tribute to Gagarin’s accomplishment. Nice cover of an early 1930’s Science Wonder Stories on the same page. Somewhere Hugo Gernsback is smiling…

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  • ljk April 12, 2007, 13:57

    David S. F. Portree has a nice tribute to the Vostok 1 flight
    and those who were part of it at his Altair VI blog here:


    Google has paid a tribute to the Vostok 1 mission on its
    main page here:


    But what is with the little blue aliens and why do they
    only show the main capsule? Or should I be grateful
    that they remembered at all and that it will make at
    least a few people aware of the historic event?

  • Administrator April 12, 2007, 14:00

    Little blue aliens indeed. Google’s got imagination, at any rate.

  • Dennis April 12, 2007, 14:13

    Congratulations! Both for brave Soviet cosmonaut and American spaceship!

  • Jeffrey Cornish April 12, 2007, 14:50


    Fire in the Sky by Jordin Kare
    Performed by Kristopher Klover

    Prometheus they say brought God’s fire down to man
    and we caught it, tamed it, trained it since our history began
    Now we’re going back to heaven just to look him him in the eye
    and there’s a thunder ‘cross the land and a fire in the sky

    Gagarin was the first back in Nineteen Sixty-One
    when like Icarus unbounded he climbed to reach the Sun
    And he knew he might not make it for it’s never hard to die
    but he lifted off the pad and rode fire in the sky

    But a higher goal was calling and we vowed we make it soon
    and we gave ourselves a decade to put fire on the Moon
    Apollo showed the world we can do it if we try
    and there was one small step and fire in the sky

    But two decades from Gagarin, twenty years to the day
    came a shuttle named Columbia to open up the way
    they says she’s just a truck but she’s a truck that’s aiming high
    see her big jets burning, see her fire in the sky

    Yet the Gods do not give lightly of the powers they have made
    and with Challenger and Seven the price was once again paid
    though a nation watched her falling yet a world could only cry
    as they passed from us to glory riding fire in the sky

    Now the rest is up to us there’s a future to be won
    we must turn our faces outward, we must do what must be done
    no cradle lasts forever, every bird must learn to fly
    and we’re going to the stars! See our Fire In The Sky!

  • Administrator April 12, 2007, 14:59

    We also need to talk Jordin into writing a song about his sailbeam concept!

  • David S. F. Portree April 12, 2007, 18:00

    Very kind of Larry to point folks to my Gagarin account, and equally kind of you to mention it here. I was in a hurry when I posted that this morning, so didn’t manage to post everything I intended. I’ve done so now, however. The added stuff is mostly toward the end, after “Vostok revealed.” Enjoy.

  • Administrator April 12, 2007, 18:34

    It’s first-rate work, David. Well done!

  • Robin Goodfellow April 13, 2007, 2:13


  • ljk April 16, 2007, 8:41

    In today’s space news from SpaceRef:

    — The Blogosphere Reacts to Yuri’s Night at NASA Ames Research Center


    — A Tale of Two Possible NASA Futures: Yuri’s Night and The National Space


    “I had a somewhat profound experience several days ago in
    California – at NASA Ames Research Center to be exact. The
    true impact of this event is still growing on me. You see, I saw
    things I never thought I would see on a NASA base – things that
    give me hope that what NASA does can be truly relevant to
    people outside NASA’s traditional constituency. Moreover, I
    saw indications that NASA can adapt to rapidly changing trends.
    The experience? Yuri’s Night.”