CONFERENCE: Yuri Gagarin's Legacy – 50 Years On

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March 16, 2011
March 17, 2011
4 Hamilton Place
+44 149 162 9912
4 Hamilton Place, London, United Kingdom, W1J 7BQ

Securing the vision for the next half century

On the 12 April 1961, Vostok 1 lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (Tyuratam) in Kazakhstan with cosmonaut Major Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin on board. Gagarin was the first human being to leave the Earth’s atmosphere, and although his flight was to last only 1 hour 48 minutes, circling the Earth just once, it provoked important political, social, cultural and technical changes, and changed humanity’s perspective of its place on Earth forever.

The fiftieth anniversary of this flight provides an opportunity for a conference combining elements of historical review, assessment of the social and cultural impact of the event in the UK, Russia, and worldwide, and consideration of areas of scientific endeavour of common interest to both Russia and the West. The anniversary occurs as the long term objectives and strategy for human spaceflight are being questioned in both Russia and the West, making this an appropriate moment to revisit that first flight. To this end, a programme of lectures and discussions is being prepared involving significant Russian involvement.

The aims of the conference are to:

  • review the impact of Gagarin’s flight on space technology and space applications – in the UK and world-wide
  • review the social, cultural and political impact of Gagarin’s flight – in the UK and world-wide
  • review progress / achievements of the first joint UK-Russia celebratory ISS project agreed with Russian technical experts in July 2010
  • discuss the legacy of Gagarin in the context of today’s space programmes – in the UK and world-wide

Topics to be discussed will include five application areas identified by a joint UK-Russia forum as being of particular interest, namely space medicine and psychology, satellite communication technologies, optics and instrument systems, monitoring and natural disasters, and robotics and autonomous operations. The historical and cultural dimensions will also be given full attention.

Additionally, the conference will provide an opportunity to identify ways in which further unique collaborative ventures can be developed for the future, delivering benefit to both the UK and Russia.

The conference will be of interest to both the scientific and cultural communities. In the scientific and industrial sectors, it will appeal to those in the fields of exploration, human spaceflight, microgravity, space medicine and psychology, robotics, space mechanisms, communication technologies, optics and instruments, monitoring / natural disasters. On the humanities side, it will appeal to those working in culture and the arts (film, museums, galleries etc.), 20th century history, international politics, human destiny, and education (outreach).

There will be a strong networking element to the conference and both formal and informal opportunities for this will be provided.

Full programme to follow soon.

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