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    4 April 2011

    Exhibition Opens in Vienna to Mark the 50th Anniversary of the First Human Space Flight by Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin

    VIENNA, 4 April (UN Information Service) - An exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic first human space flight is being opened today at the Vienna International Centre (VIC). On 12 April 1961 Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into space when orbited the Earth on Vostok-1 in a flight lasting 108 minutes.

    To commemorate the 50th anniversary of this historic event the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations at Vienna with the support of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is organizing an exhibition at the VIC. On display will be photographs commemorating Yuri Gagarin's space flight and other memorabilia from his goodwill tour around the globe including his entry in the Visitors Book when he went to the United Nations headquarters in New York in 1963 along with the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova.

    "Today we are celebrating one of the greatest triumphs of human progress: the first manned flight in outer space," said Yury Fedotov the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) at the official opening of the exhibition today. "For the first time in human history, an individual was able to see the Earth from the breathtaking perspective of outer space," he said.

    Mr. Fedotov thanked the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation Alexander Zmeyevskiy and the Permanent Mission for the exhibition which opens during the 50th session of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) in Vienna. The permanent Committee is also celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first meeting this year. Over the last 50 years the Committee has developed five treaties and five principles governing the use of outer space. It has also helped States to develop their capabilities to use space technology for sustainable development.

    On 7 April, the General Assembly will hold a special session to commemorate Yuri Gagarin's remarkable flight. On 12 April the United Nations Postal Administration will issue a series of special commemorative stamps at each of its offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna. A stamp featuring an iconic image of Yuri Gagarin will be issued.

    COPUOS will be marking its anniversary with a commemorative opening meeting on 1 June, a number of side events including the Astronauts Panel on the future of humanity in space on 2 June in the Vienna City Hall and a month-long exhibition on human spaceflight in the VIC Rotunda.

    Visitors can see the exhibition until 15 April as part of the guided tours of the VIC. For more information on tours call +43 (0)1 26060 3328 or email

    To view pictures please got to

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    For more information please contact:

    Anne Thomas
    Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5588
    Mobile: (+43) 699-1459-5588