Russia marks 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight into space

11:05, April 13, 2011      

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A visitor passes by a mosaic image of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in Duna Plaza Shopping Center in Budapest, Hungary, on March 27, 2011. A 30 square meters large mosaic image made from 470,016 Lego pieces was finished to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first human spaceflight accomplished on April 12, 1961. (Xinhua/Attila Volgyi)

Russia on Tuesday celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight, accomplished on April 12, 1961 by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, with various events held in several cities.

In Moscow, a concert was dedicated to Gagarin and a 50-gun salute was fired at 22:00 Moscow time.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev attended the concert. In his address before the concert, the president highly praised Gagarin and called Gagarin's flight a "revolutionary event" that changed the world.

As part of the celebrations, Medvedev also visited the Mission Control Center outside Moscow and had a communication session with the crew members of the International Space Station (ISS).

The president wished specialists on the Earth and astronauts in orbit a happy International Day of Human Space Flight that falls on April 12.

Also in the day, the president awarded state honors to some of Russia's most senior cosmonauts and those who have devoted themselves to Russia's space industry.

"Space exploration is our priority," Medvedev stressed at the award ceremony.

Fifty years ago, Gagarin made the first manned space flight and orbited the Earth for 108 minutes before safely landing.

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution earlier this month that declares April 12 the International Day of Human Space Flight.

Source: Xinhua
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