Event named after Yuri Gagarin, first human in space, is retitled amid Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine
Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human space when he orbited Earth aboard Vostok 1 in April 1961. © Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images
Legendary cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin has been caught up in the global push to punish all things Russian amid the Ukraine crisis, despite having died more than half a century ago.
A major US space industry conference has censored Gagarin’s name, essentially canceling the first human to travel into outer space. The Space Foundation, a Colorado-based not-for-profit group led largely by aerospace industry executives, altered the agenda for its upcoming Space Symposium in April, renaming a fundraising party that used to be titled “Yuri’s Night.”
The group noted that “in light of current world events,” the fundraiser had been renamed “A Celebration of Space: Discover What’s Next.” That page was later deleted and replaced with an updated conference agenda that excluded the explanation for canceling Gagarin.
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The annual Space Symposium is in its 37th year and costs nearly $3,000 to attend with a “premium access” pass. It typically attracts about 10,000 space-industry professionals from around the world. The focus of the renamed event remains the same – “to celebrate human achievements in space while inspiring the next generation to reach for the stars,” the foundation said.