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International Day of Human Space Flight 2024 – April 12

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International Day of Human Space Flight - April 12 2024The United Nations (UN) International Day of Human Space Flight is annually observed across the globe on 12 April to celebrate the beginning of the space era for mankind and underscores the pivotal role of space science and technology in advancing sustainable development goals (SDGs) and enhancing the welfare of nations and individuals.

  • It also emphasises the commitment to preserving outer space for peaceful purposes.


i.On 7 April 2011, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/65/271 and declared April 12 of every year International Day of Human Space Flight.

ii.The 1st ever International Day of Human Space Flight was observed on 12 April 2011.

Note: The year 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the first-ever human spaceflight and the 50th anniversary of the 1st session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Why April 12?

i.It was on 12 April 1961, the first human space flight was carried out by the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union.

ii.Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth once on a Vostok-1 space capsule, the first-ever crewed spacecraft in 108 minutes, and landed near the Russian city of Saratov.

Commemorative Stamp:

On 12 April 2011, the UN Postal Administration issued a series of special commemorative stamps at each of its offices in New York, United States of America (USA), Geneva (Switzerland), and Vienna (Austria), including a stamp featuring an iconic image of Yuri Gagarin.

Some Key Milestones in Space Exploration:

i.Sputnik I, the first human-made Earth satellite, launched into outer space in 1957.

ii.Russia’s Valentina Tereshkova became the 1st woman to orbit the Earth in 1963.

iii.American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the 1st human to set foot upon the surface of the Moon in  1969.

iv.Apollo-Soyuz spacecraft docked on 17 July 1975, the first international human mission in space.

v.The first piece of the International Space Station (ISS) was launched in November 1998. A Russian proton rocket launched the Russian Zarya control module.

UN and Space Exploration:

i.Since the beginning of the Space Age, the UN recognised the significance of outer space for humanity’s progress.

ii.The UN aims to leverage outer space’s unique advantages for the collective welfare of humanity.

Early Resolutions and Treaties:

i.In 1958, the UNGA adopted its 1st resolution 1348 (XIII) entitled “Question of the Peaceful Use of Outer Space” addressing the Peaceful Use of Outer Space.

ii.The pivotal “Magna Carta of Space” or the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, came into effect on 10 October 1967.

Role of UNOOSA:

i.The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is the UN office that spearheads international cooperation in the peaceful use of outer space.

ii.It serves as the secretariat for the UNGA’s only Committee, the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), dealing exclusively with international cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

iii.Additionally, UNOOSA implements the Secretary-General’s duties under international space law and maintains the UN Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space.

About United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA):
Director– Aarti Holla-Maini
Headquarters– Vienna, Austria
Established in– 1958