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HU Cybersecurity Professor Ron Jones and Dr. Glenn Mitchell, Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness, joined abc27 news to discuss the anniversary of two historic achievements in spaceflight that occurred on April 12. View the story here.

On April 12, 1961, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin became the first person to fly into space and return safely. On April 12, 1981, the U.S. launched the first space shuttle, “Columbia,” into space.

“The news media and the people that were talking felt that the leadership in the United States at that time had fallen behind the technology curve,” Jones said of the Russian achievement. “And it was a slap in the American image for the Russians to succeed at that.”

“Most of us at that time, were a little bit prepared by the fact that Sputnik had already gone up, a couple of years previously,” Dr. Mitchell added. “We had watched Laika the dog and several other animals go up, so we knew they were a little bit ahead of us in the race.”

The United Nations declared April 12 the International Day of Human Space Flight in 2011, and celebrations honoring the contributions of space science and technology to humanity take place around the glob on this date annually.


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