“Space the final frontier, these are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise…” During each episode of Star Trek, these are the words that are uttered by Captain James T. Kirk. Just a few years prior to this new and fascinating show, humankind made its first trip ever into space. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made the first trip into space on April 12, 1961.
Space has always fascinated humans. It was Galileo Galilei that invented a new telescope that could see the stars that the eyes could not. He was the first to suggest that the sun was the center of the universe, not the Earth. With these discoveries, the people of Italy experienced a renaissance of interest in space.
On October 4, 1957, the first satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched into space. Less than three years later, Cosmonaut Gagarin orbited the earth, followed shortly by Valentina Tereshkova of the Soviet Union. These two paved the way for Neil Armstrong and his famous quote, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for humankind.” in July of 1969.
Today we celebrate International Day of Human Space Flight. While we are not to the 23rd Century when Star Trek took place, we have had manned voyages to space and to the moon. Someday there will be flight to other galaxies within our vast universe, but until then let us remember the history that has brought us closer to seeing the vast universe around us.