Press Releases

    For information only - not an official document

    7 October 2011

    Sculpture of First Man in Outer Space, Yuri Gagarin, takes Permanent Residence at the United Nations in Vienna

    VIENNA, 7 October (UN Information Service) - Forty-seven years after his first visit to the United Nations Headquarters, a sculpture of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin will take permanent residency at the United Nations in Vienna.

    The donation of the sculpture of the first human to travel into outer space given to the UN by the Government of the Russian Federation is well-timed: this year's World Space Week, celebrated yearly from 4 to 10 October, is dedicated to "50 Years of Human Spaceflight".

    It was on 12 April 1961 that Gagarin became the first human in history to see the Earth from the breathtaking perspective of outer space. "That must have been a wonderful, but deeply humbling experience," said Yury Fedotov, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna at the ceremony on 7 October. He expressed his sincere gratitude to Ambassador Vladimir Voronkov and the Russian Federation for donating the sculpture of Yuri Gagarin to the permanent exhibition of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).

    "I would like to thank the Office for Outer Space for its continued good work in promoting international cooperation in the use of outer space to achieve development goals for the benefit of us all", Mr. Fedotov added.

    This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of human spaceflight and is also the fiftieth anniversary of the first meeting of the permanent Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, as Mazlan Othman, Director of UNOOSA pointed out.

    "UNOOSA, together with its partners, has been working to bring the benefits of space to Earth, to make the seemingly remote and abstract world of outer space of concrete use to people worldwide", she said.

    Asked to develop a framework for outer space activities and to facilitate the use of space-based technology for developed and developing nations alike, the Committee met for the first time in 1961, the same year as Gagarin's flight. In the following year, the United Nations Office for Outer Space was formally established as the secretariat to the Committee. Recognizing the importance of the first envoy of humankind into outer space, the United Nations General Assembly this year declared 12 April as the International Day of Human Space Flight.

    * *** *

    For further information, please contact:

    Romana Kofler
    United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-4962
    Email: romana.kofler[at]


    Regina Rohrbach
    United Nations Information Service (UNIS)
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-3898
    Email: regina.rohrbach[at]