“Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty—not destroy it!”
—Yuri Gagarin, first man in space
By the time this post hits the web, “Yuri’s Night” celebrations will already be in full swing around the planet.
Every year on April 12, people the world over hold parties and other events to celebrate mankind’s achievements in space. Some of these events are full-on, blowout shindigs with all manner of craziness, while others focus more on education and outreach.
This space holiday has come to be known as “Yuri’s Night” because April 12 is the anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first manned spaceflight in 1961. It is also the day on which, twenty years after Gagarin’s historic flight, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Columbia on her maiden voyage.
You don’t have to hold an official celebration to join in the fun, though. Yuri’s Night is a great excuse for folk to get together with their fellow Browncoats and host a spring shindig, and a spontaneous, intimate, unofficial Yuri’s Night party is still a great way to celebrate all that man has accomplished out in the black.
Even if you can’t make it to a Yuri’s Night celebration this year, you can still raise a glass this evening and toast the men and women of all nations who have worked, sacrificed, and in some cases even given their lives to help us extend our reach to the final frontier.
And why not commemorate Yuri’s Night 2014 by signing our online petition and writing a letter to Elon Musk at SpaceX, asking him to name his first manned Dragon after a certain Firefly class transport ship that our love has kept in the air for nearly a dozen years?
However you choose to celebrate, and wherever in the ‘verse you may be, all of us here at Take Back the Sky hope you have a very shiny Yuri’s Night 2014.
This post originally appeared on Take Back the Sky. For more information on space exploration, and their efforts to name the first manned Dragon rocket after the Serenity, visit their website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.