Yuri Gagarin 50th Anniversary Celebrations

I don’t know what it’s like in your part of the world but, over here in the UK, the media’s going nuts for Yuri Gargarin’s 50th anniversary.

Pretty much every newspaper I pick up these days has an article about Gagarin – I saw a two page Gagarin spread in the Sun yesterday, plus news of a Gagarin statue that will be erected in the Mall in London.

The BBC’s also got plenty of plans to mark the half-centenary (is there a proper word for half-centenary, by the way?). Sunday will see the showing of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”, a Storyville documentary about (in the BBC’s words) “shows how the Russian space programme was kick-started by a mystic who taught that science would make us immortal, and carried forward by a scientist who believed that we should evolve into super-humans who could leave our overcrowded planet to colonise the universe.” The film is by George Carey and Teresa Cherfas, the team behind 2009’s Tunguska documentary.

Yuri Gagarin 50th Anniversary film on the BBC

On Monday BBC Radio 4 will even be airing a radio play about Gagarin’s first space flight – Titanium follows the story of Gagarin and his understudy Gherman Titov from their preparation for the flight to the aftermath.

I think a lot of the interest in the UK has to be down to the promotion efforts of the team behind yurigagarin50.org. As well as their really informative website, they’ve got a great Yuri Gagarin twitter feed. They’ve got a lot of events planned for the big anniversary day on Tuesday, including a mass rocket launch, a walk along the South Bank, a lecture, and a special screening of the First Orbit film.

I’m curious – how is the anniversary of Gagarin’s first space flight being celebrated in your part of the world?

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