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Yuri's Night

Yuri Gagarin muralized for ever
by Morris Jones
Sydney - Mar 10, 2004
Once again, it's almost time for the world to pause and remember the moment when human spaceflight began. Yuri's Night will be commemorated around the world on April 12, in a series of events that commemorate the flight of Yuri Gagarin in 1961.

Celebrations of Gagarin's mission were regular events in the Soviet Union for years, but this tradition became global in 2001 when the 40th anniversary of the first human space mission arrived. Since then, Yuri's Night has become the closest thing the global space community has to an official international festival.

Yuri's Night is typically organised at a grassroots level, with individual events registered at the official Web site. If a function hasn't been organised for your city or town, it's not too late to start one yourself. Yuri's Night has been celebrated in some places with wild, pulsing dance parties, but it can also be as simple to organise as a dinner party or telescope viewing with your friends.

Every year that Yuri's Night has been celebrated internationally has seen human spaceflight in a slightly different state. We have witnessed the collaboration of former cold war adversaries on the International Space Station, experienced the controversies of the debut of space tourism, and mourned the loss of more astronauts in the wake of the Columbia tragedy. This year, the implications of a potential shift in focus for NASA from operations in Earth orbit to returning astronauts to the moon will fuel many discussions.

Despite the problems and controversies that have dogged spaceflight in recent years, Yuri's Night reminds us all that human spaceflight must, and will, go on. Along with the rise of communications technology and computing, space travel is one of the most important developments in recent history.

More than four decades of sending people into orbit and beyond have amazed and impressed the world, but on a greater scale of historical developments, spaceflight is still very new. We may look back on the achievements of the 1960s with nostalgia, but the most impressive feats of spaceflight are yet to come. Yuri's Night reminds us of what we have already achieved, but it also inspires us to plan for greater tasks in the future.

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AGI Opens Center for Space Standards and Innovation
Colorado Springs - Jan 12, 2004
AGI has announced the opening of the Center for Space Standards and Innovation (CSSI) in Colorado Springs, CO, with Dr. T.S. Kelso, Dr. Salvatore Alfano, and David Vallado as the inaugural team. CSSI's mission is to become a centralized source of research, standards, data, and innovative technical solutions for the national security and space communities.

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