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International Day of Human Space Flight

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By Mercy Kelani

Celebration emphasizes role of space science and technology in SDGs.

The United Nations General Assembly made a declaration, in its resolution A/RES/65/271 of April 12, 2011, has declared April 12 as the International Day of Human Space Flight. Commemoration of this day every year at the international level recognizes the beginning of the space epoch for mankind while re-emphasizing the significant role of space science and technology in the achievement of sustainable development goals. Celebration of the day also boosts the wellbeing of States and people and ensures fulfilment of their aspiration towards maintenance of outer space for peaceful purposes.

The first human space flight happened on April 12, 1961. It was an historic event that paved the way for space exploration for the good of all humankind. The General Assembly, as a means of expressing its in-depth conviction of mankind’s common interest in the promotion and expansion of the exploration and use of the outer space for peaceful purposes and in unrelenting efforts to ensure extension of the benefits derived from it to all States, declared an International Day.

Space is recognized through commemoration of the international day.

On October 4, 1957, there was a launch of the first human-made Earth satellite Spuknik I into outer space, paving the way for space exploration. Following this launch, Yuri Gagarin,  a citizen of the Soviet Union, on April 12, 1961, became the first human being to orbit the Earth thereby introducing the human endeavor to another chapter of outer space. The history of human presence in outer space is recognized through commemoration of the international day. Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to orbit the Earth on June 16, 1963.

Aside aforementioned space legends, Neil Armstrong, on July 20, 1969, became the first of humankind to set foot on the surface of the moon. The docking of Apollo and the Soyuz space crafts became the first international human mission in outer space on July 17, 1975. Also, within the past ten years, there has been maintenance of a multinational permanent human presence in outer space within the International Space Station by humans. However, outer space’s contribution to a new aspect of humanity’s existence is recognized by the UN.

A treaty governs exploration and use of outer space.

From the onset of the Space era, the United Nations States continually struggle to ensure utilization of associated benefits with outer space for the good of all mankind. The General Assembly’s first adoption of a resolution related to outer space, resolution 1348 (XIII) titled “Question of the Peaceful Use of Outer Space” was birthed from its recognition of the common interest of mankind in outer space and the quest to answer questions on ways through which outer space can be of benefit to inhabitants of the Earth.

To govern the use of outer space, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of State in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies was entrenched. Likewise, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is responsible for promotion of international cooperation in the peaceful usage of outer space. It is also saddled with the responsibility of implementing responsibilities of the Secretary-General under the International Space Law.

Words on the record expresses hope for peace and friendship.

In 1977, the Voyager Golden Record shot into space had a message from humanity to the universe. Many years later, this message reminds United Nations States that they are all connected. The Director of the UN office for Outer Space, Simonetta Di Pippo added that the Golden Record is significant to our world. The first words on the playlists were those of the UN General Secretary of the time sending hope for peace and friendship with whosoever finds and plays it. According to the UN, “The Undertaking of the Voyager project reminds us of who we are, where we came from and that we should treat each other with care.”

Related Link

United Nations: Website

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