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Happy Cosmonautics Day and STS-1 anniversary!
Posted: Thu, Apr 12, 2001, 11:03 AM ET (1503 GMT)
Thursday marks a pair of major anniversaries in the history of space flight: the 40th anniversary of the first manned space flight by Yuri Gagarin, and the 20th anniversary of STS-1, the first space shuttle mission. Gagarin's flight is celebrated in Russia every year as Cosmonautics Day, although this anniversary will be marked around the world with a series of parties and related events called Yuri's Night. Russian President Vladimir Putin, visiting the cosmonaut training center in Star City outside of Moscow Thursday, called Gagarin's flight a "victory for all of humanity." The 20th anniversary of the STS-1 shuttle mission was already marked last weekend at the Kennedy Space Center, and another party is planned for Friday at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
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