“I am grateful to those who invested their hearts, souls, skills, and hard work to fulfill this great mission,” Gagarin said in a speech that was first broadcast by Soviet television back in 1962, exactly one year after he became the first human ever to fly in space.
The first Soviet cosmonaut expressed his admiration for the Soviet scientists and engineers who made his flight possible by calling them “miracle workers.” Yet, he was equally welcoming to other nations’ efforts in space exploration. He symbolically greeted a US astronaut, John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, and welcomed him to the international “family of cosmonauts.”
“We know that our family of cosmonauts will grow bigger and bigger by the year and we will have more and more members joining,” Gagarin said in a speech that was originally recorded on 35-milimeter black-and-white film.
The first man in space also used the occasion to send a powerful message of peace as he said that cooperation in space between the US and the USSR “would open the way to stopping the onerous and pointless arms race as well as to channeling the joint efforts of both superpowers towards new scientific breakthroughs in space exploration.”
May there be peace.
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