International Day for Human Space Flight - April 12
(Last Updated On: November 8, 2022)


Every year on April 12th, International Day for Human Space Flight celebrates the first human space flight anniversary. It’s also a day to reaffirm the importance of space science and technology.

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first human-made satellite was launched into outer space. The satellite was called Sputnik I. Four years later, another historic event took place. On April 12th, 1961, Yuri Gagarin carried out the first human space flight. Gagarin was a Soviet citizen, pilot, and cosmonaut. His space capsule, Vostok 1, was the first to complete an orbit of Earth. His journey around the earth took over 108 minutes. Gagarin’s journey marked an important milestone in the Space Race.

Other important space exploration milestones include:

  • June 16, 1963 – Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to orbit the earth.
  • July 20, 1969 – Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot upon the moon.
  • July 17, 1975 – The United States and the Soviet Union achieved the first international human mission in space.

Some may question the importance of space exploration. According to NASA, human space exploration addresses fundamental questions about our place in the universe. Space exploration provides vital information about the history of our solar system. The exploration of space also helps to create new industries. Space is something that most human beings are genuinely curious about. This curiosity among citizens throughout the world fosters peace between nations.

Without space exploration, we would not have satellites in outer space. These satellites improve communication, security, and navigation. Satellites can even help meteorologists predict the weather. And just think, without satellites, there would be no GPS.

HOW TO OBSERVE #DayForHumanSpaceFlight

Many space museums, science centers, and schools have special events on this day dedicated to learning about space. There are special exhibits, lectures, and discussions on how space exploration can unite the human race. To participate:

  • Watch the documentary First Orbit about the first crewed space flight around Earth. Another documentary to consider is Mercury 13. During the space race, thirteen American women also challenged themselves to be astronauts.
  • Do a special project with your kids that focuses on the solar system and space exploration.
  • Read the book Starman: The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin. Authors Piers Bizony and Jamie Doran tell the story of a young cosmonaut. Another excellent read is Into that Silent Sea; Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961-1965. Written by Francis French, Colin Burgess, and Paul Haney, it tells the stories of many of human space flight’s firsts.
  • Learn more about the Space Race between Russia and the United States.
  • If you remember the events of the first human space flight, share your memories with others.

Post your favorite picture of outer space on social media and share it with #DayForHumanSpaceFlight


On April 7, 2011, the UN General Assembly declared April 12th as the International Day of Human Space Flight. April 12th was the day of the first human space flight, completed by Yuri Gagarin in 1961.


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