Updated March 20th, 2022 at 15:41 IST

US scraps Russia's first person in space Yuri Gagarin's name from Space fundraiser

Russia cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was first person to journey to outer space on April 12, 1961 and was Soviet Union pilot who achieved the feat during Cold War era.

Reported by: Zaini Majeed
IMAGE: AP | Image:self

In a punitive measure to retaliate against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States on Sunday scrapped famed Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s name from a Space Foundation fundraiser. Notably, Gagarin was the first person to journey to outer space on April 12, 1961. He was a Soviet Union pilot who achieved the feat during the major escalation of the US-Soviet Cold War space race and orbited Earth for 108 minutes. Later, the Russian cosmonaut was followed by America’s Alan Shepard. He was also designated with titles of Order of Lenin, Hero of the Soviet Union, and Pilot Cosmonaut of the Soviet Union.

Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin has the title of the first man in space. Credit: AP

The recent move from the American side came as a result of a Russian boycott due to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The West also imposed a barrage of sanctions against Russia and parted ways with Russian businesses, and banned Russia based artists and performers including International Cat Federation, Russian star sopranos, Russian Tea Rooms, and New York City’s Metropolitan Opera. 

Gagarin was removed from the non-profit Space Foundation’s event that said in a now-deleted post that the decision was made “in light of current world events.” The firm plans to change the event’s name “Yuri’s Night” to “A Celebration of Space: Discover What’s Next” at its Space Symposium conference, Futurism first reported. “The focus of this fundraising event remains the same — to celebrate human achievements in space while inspiring the next generation to reach for the stars,” read the announcement by the US-based nonprofit Space Foundation.

Yuri Gagarin pictured beaming a few months after his successful one-orbit flight in 1961. Credit: AP

Gagarin alongside his medal as Hero of the Soviet Union. Credit: AP

The event marks  the 10th anniversary of the organization at the Space Foundation Discovery Center and celebrates the space achievements for the cosmonauts that will involve a "meet and greet, a drone obstacle course, a silent auction, and more.” The Russian cosmonaut was removed from the American fundraiser to show solidarity with the Ukrainians, however, scrapping the name of the first person to ever fly to space from an event that apparently celebrates the “human achievements in space” has caused a stir among the space community. 


Published March 20th, 2022 at 15:41 IST