On April 12, 1961 Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to enter outer space in the Vostok spacecraft. The spaceflight, known as "Vostok 1", also marks the first manned earth orbital mission making Gagarin was the first human to experience weightlessness for more than a few seconds. The spaceflight lasted 108 minutes from the time of launch to landing. Learn more about Yuri Gagarin's mission and celebrate this amazing milestone with Yuri's Night: World Space Party.
Exactly twenty years later, on April 12, 1981, the United States celebrated the inaugural launch of a new spacecraft, the Space Shuttle. The Space Shuttle marked the beginning of a new era in spaceflights by being the first reusable spacecraft.