International Day of Manned Space Flight
For many years, human beings dreamed of conquering the cosmos, which began to come true on April 12, 1961, a date that since 2011 is celebrated as the International Day of Manned Space Flights, by agreement of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Huge efforts and resources were devoted to this purpose, with failed attempts and victims, until 60 years ago Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to fly to infinity and return to Earth, ushering the space age.
The commemoration, highlights the UN, reaffirms that cosmic science and technology contribute crucially to achieving the goals of sustainable development and increasing the well-being of States and peoples.
The Day also wants to sensitize the world to ensure that the aspiration of reserving outer space for peaceful purposes is fulfilled, to persevere in efforts so that all States can enjoy the benefits derived from these activities and maintain space as the heritage of all humanity, adds the international body.
Despite being a small archipelago, in the Caribbean, Cuba was the ninth country to put one of its citizens in extraterrestrial space: Pilot Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, went into outer space through the Intercosmos Program developed by the then Soviet Union, in order to promote international collaboration in this field.
The first Latin American astronaut left the cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, on September 18, 1980, on a joint mission commanded by Yuri Romanenko and a day later, they docked at the Saliut 6-Soyuz 37 station.
Brigadier General Tamayo Méndez orbited the Earth 128 times and during his more than seven days in space he worked on 21 experiments prepared by the Cuban Academy of Sciences.
Milestones in humanity's endeavor to conquer space include the launching of the first terrestrial satellite, Sputnik I, in 1957; the flight of the first woman to orbit the Earth, Valentina Tereshkova, on June 16, 1963; the first man to set foot on the Moon, Neil Armstrong, on July 20, 1969, and the first international space mission, with the docking of the Apollo and Soyuz spacecrafts, on July 17, 1965.