Fifty years ago, on April 12th, 1961, at 09:07 hrs Moscow time, the Vostok 1 crewed capsule launched from the Baikonur space center carrying one Yuri Gagarin into orbit. It was on that day that humanity began a new age, the space age, and those born after that date share a common bond in being part of the space generation of humanity.
Thirty years ago, a new type of vehicle was introduced, a Space Launch System that would revolutionize access to space and make it routine and affordable, just what industry needed to tap the promising new field of microgravity science unveiled by Skylab. Which it was working towards achieving until Challenger. While the Baby Boomers have Apollo, Challenger was the defining space moment for my generation, gathered around the television as we showed off our space prowess by sending a teacher into space. And then the long stand down at NASA.
Ten years ago, a new generation of space enthusiasts gathered in Los Angeles and around the world to celebrate these anniversaries and space activities in general. This was the first Yuri’s Night, and what a party it was.
My how things have changed. Now we stand on the verge of shedding the old ways that stifle us, and launching into a new phase of space exploration, one where private industry can engage private industry for access to space. Worried about the security of your lab? Why not move it to a location less accessible to prying eyes? Want to take a honeymoon swing around the Lunar far side? Current market looks to be about $200Mn. What do you want to do in space? It may soon be possible.
All begun 50 years ago when Yuri Gagarin was the first human to touch space.
Happy Yuri’s Night, everyone!