April 12th is Cosmonautics Day in Russia. It is not a day off, people still go to work, but on this day people remember the triumph of science when Yuri Gagarin made the first manned flight into space. It is known in the world as the International Day of Human Space Flight.
The first intercontinental ballistic missile was invented under the supervision of Sergey Korolev of the Soviet Union in 1957. The following year it was used to launch the first satellite into space. This was a huge step forward in for international space explorations. Soon after that the Soviet Union also launched another satellite, which took to space the first living creature – a dog called Laika. On April 12th, 1961 the Soviet Union sent Yuri Gagarin to space.
The US first launched a person into space in May 1961. It was Alan Shepard, who made a suborbital flight in Mercury-Redstone 3. The first American orbital flight was achieved on February 20th 1962 by John Glenn. On June 16th 1963 the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, orbited Earth 48 times.
The Chinese first launched into space on October 15th2003, 42 years after the flight of Gagarin.
Nowadays there are a lot of international space exploration programs. The most well-known is the ISS – the International Space Station. 14 countries are participating in the project: Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, the USA, France, Switzerland, Sweden and Japan. The station is operated by the Russian RKA Mission Control Center in Korolyov and by the American Johnson Space Center in Houston.
By January 17th 2012 30 expeditions have worked on the ISS. In the teams there were 35 Americans, 30 Russians, 5 Europeans, 3 Japanese and one Canadian astronaut. Altogether the station was visited by 37 Russians, 133 Americans, 24 Europeans, Canadian and Japanese astronauts, and 7 space tourists.
According to the agreement, the permanent team of the station must consist of 3 Russians who work in the Russian segment, and 4 Americans share time in the American segment with astronauts from other countries depending on the country’s contribution to the project, i.e. 76%- the USA, 13% – Japan, 8% – Europe, 3% – Canada.
Nowadays space exploration is very important for our world. More and more countries work together in this field, and only through close cooperation it is possible to achieve our goals.
We salute the great contributions Russia has made to space exploration!