Every year on April 12th the whole world celebrates one of the greatest milestones in the history of mankind – anniversary of the first manned flight into space.
This event became a symbol of a dream come true, a triumph of science, determination and unprecedented personal courage. Its influence on our everyday life could be compared only with a few greatest achievements in the history like invention of wheel or electricity, magnetic compass or antibiotics as well as ability of man to exert fire or to fly by airplane.
We are very proud that Russia and its prominent people – scientists, engineers, pilots – made a decisive contribution to the breakthrough into the cosmic era.
It is impossible to imagine the history of space exploration without names of Konstantin Tsiolkovskiy, Sergei Korolev and Yuri Gagarin. They were the first in theory, in practice and in the space.
Konstantin Tsiolkovskiy (1857-1935), a humble Russian schoolteacher of mathematics and physics from the depths of the country, became worlds greatest theorist of space exploration. He laid the foundations of the theory of interplanetary communications, elaborated the theory of rocket flight and proposed to use a multistage spaceship which consists of a number of connected rockets with propellant. It is his ideas that enabled man to overcome the earth’s gravitational field.
The genius of Konstantin Tsiolkovskiy is unquestionable. And we undoubtedly put his name in one golden row with Ptolemaic, Archimedes, Leonardo da Vinci and Copernicus. He was a true visionary and pioneer of cosmonautics.
And what proves that best is that the industry became capable to realize his ideas into practice not before 22 years after his death.
What Tsiolkovskiy had dreamed about was made come true by another prominent Russian scientist and practitioner Sergei Korolev (1907-1966), the “rocket genius” and a founding father of the Russian space program, who melt together the theoretical discoveries of Tsiolkovskiy with practical potential of real industry.
It is necessary to know (though it is sad to recognize), that in those times all countries forces were mobilized first of all to strengthen their defence capacities. As a result the first space rockets were being created as an offensive weapon of great destructive force.
As for a spaceship of a peaceful purpose, it became so to say a “side child” of the Soviet-American arms race. And even in that sense it has changed radically the course of history.
At last it is impossible to imagine space achievements without Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968), one of the greatest heroes in the history of mankind. On April 12, 1961 he became the first human who left the planet and orbited the Earth in the spaceship Vostok.
What is especially impressive is that Russia did this breakthrough into the cosmic era only 16 years after the end of the Second World War, the deadliest war in the history of mankind when big part of our territory was destroyed and we lost 27 millions of lives.
Gagarin’s historic flight was a major triumph of the human mind. Gagarin himself has become a legend, people around the world named him “the Columbus of the Cosmos”.
Nowadays, space and space technologies are deeply interwoven with our everyday life – television broadcasting, weather forecasts, vehicle localization, high speed Internet access, cell phones and so on, and so forth. People continue to dream about the Space and realize these dreams.
Many countries are engaged in different kinds of space activities. Space tourism is emerging as well as private companies create their own spacecrafts. The day is coming when humankind will be outside the scope of the Solar System and may be we will have established a real contact with inhabitants of other worlds.
All that makes us feel proud of what our prominent compatriots and our great country have done to open this new fascinating page of the life of humankind.
The author is the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Rwanda