Yuri’s Night: Earth From Space

April 12, 2012 by staff 

Yuri’s Night: Earth From Space, For more than five decades, humans have been suiting up and riding rockets to escape the bonds of Earth, but the anniversary of that historic first flight – which blasted off 51 years ago this week- takes center stage on Thursday (April 12).

To mark the groundbreaking flight of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961, space geeks worldwide will revel at themed parties, and a filmmaker will tweet the mission’s audio transcript live to coincide with the actual time of the flight.

Gagarin became the first human ever to experience space travel when he blasted off aboard the Vostok 1 flight, a 108-minute jaunt that included a full orbit around Earth.

British filmmaker Chris Riley’s movie “First Orbit” was released last year on YouTube, and is now out on DVD and Blu-ray. The film uses recently taken footage from the International Space Station to coincide with the exact flight path and timing of Gagarin’s flight to give viewers a taste of what Yuri saw. [Photos: Yuri Gagarin, First Man in Space]

For the anniversary, Riley plans to tweet a live running commentary of the film, which will be screening on YouTube at 2:07 a.m. EDT (0607 GMT) – the exact minute of Gagarin’s launchall those years ago. He will include snippets of what Gagarin said, as well as descriptions of the places he was passing over at the time. Others from around the world will tweet the mission transcript in many other languages, using the Twitter hashtag #firstorbit.

“I kind of felt like I got to know [Gagarin] a bit making this film, hearing him talking in my ear,” Riley told “I think he would have been thrilled how half a century on, his story and this extraordinary moment in human history have continued to live on in this new media age.”

“First Orbit” will also be screened later on that day at many of the “Yuri’s Night” parties being thrown around the globe.

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