Yuri Gagarin's historic space flight - a celebration in Delhi | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Yuri Gagarin's historic space flight - a celebration in Delhi

Fifty years after Yuri Gagarin made history by flying into outer space, the Russian cosmonaut is fondly remembered as the man who paved the way for India's first space traveller Rakesh Sharma as well as the country's space research projects.

delhi Updated: Apr 13, 2011 13:05 IST

Fifty years after Yuri Gagarin made history by flying into outer space, the Russian cosmonaut is fondly remembered as the man who paved the way for India's first space traveller Rakesh Sharma as well as the country's space research projects.

"Gagarin's outstanding feat marked a new era in the history of mankind. It was not only a national triumph but was an embodiment of a daring dream of thousands of people. It started off a chain reaction in every country to get into space," said Alexander M Kadakin, ambassador of the Russian Federation to India.

The ambassador was the chief guest at a gala function dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Gagarin's flight into outer space, held at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture (RCSC) in New Delhi on Tuesday evening.

Yuri Gagarin had commandeered the first manned space flight on April 12, 1961 making a 108-minute orbital flight in his Vostok 1 spacecraft.

Indian astronaut Rakesh Sharma spent eight days on his maiden space flight aboard the Soviet Soyuz T-11 spacecraft on April 2, 1984 to Salyut-7 orbital station.

Kadakin said broader collaboration with India is high on the agenda of Russia's space plans with the recent agreements on deeper cooperation and in adopting the Glonass Russian satellite navigation system.

"Bilateral cooperation will further strengthen and blossom, extending from orbital and lunar flights to the mysterious far reaches of the universe," Kadakin said.

Fyodor A Rozovskiy, director, RCSC, in his welcome remarks said the anniversary celebration of the great event all over Russia and India is a testimony to the significance of the landmark scientific mission Gagarin fulfilled.

He referred to the prospects of more and more ambitious projects jointly being scheduled by Russia and India in the years to come.

"It is very encouraging to find that four Indian youth were among the winners as part of the international space challenge we had conducted. The space belongs to the young generation and we encourage youth," Rozovskiy said.

"Gagarin, the proud son of Soviet Union pioneered man's zest into space in 1991 and blazed a new trail in the scientific world," said Dalbir Singh, national secretary, All Indian Congress Committee.

Acknowledging the timely support given by Russia, Singh referred to the enormous opportunities ahead for further bilateral cooperation in the field of space science to the broader benefit of mankind.

"Today, thanks to Gagarin, there are almost 500 people who have been to space," he said.

The celebrations ended with a colourful concert by folk dance group from Russia which presented items such as The Red Square, Troika, Russian Mosaic, Amalia, a Gypsy Dance and others.