Whilst the space race may be over, 50 years ago the race to get a man in space was a hot topic and Russia's Yuri Gagarin first manned space mission was global front page news. Google honors the achievement with a worldwide Google Doodle April 12.
Russia will celebrate the occasion with a 50 gun salute, while Jethro Tull front man, Ian Anderson, will play a flute duet with astronaut Catherine "Cady" Coleman who will be playing from 250 miles above the Earth, the UK Guardian reported.
"While Coleman will be aboard the International Space Station, Anderson will be on stage in Perm, Russia. But this is no cheap tour gimmick: Coleman conceived of the project herself, approaching Anderson through a mutual friend, former radio DJ Dayna Steele. "Kate thought it would be fun to do a duet in space and asked me if I knew how to get in touch with Ian since I've been part of that world," Steele told AOL News. "So I tracked him down."
They will play Bourée, a Jethro Tull instrumental reworking of Bach's Bourrée in E minor. Coleman has been practiing for weeks, even studying Anderson's stage moves to perfect a zero-gravity rendition of his one-legged flute solo. Coleman will use a flute Anderson gave her for the occasion.
The Space Race was a major Cold War rivalry in the 50s and 60s but ended in 1975 when the two programs joined for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project human spaceflight mission where both space programs came together.
The recognition will be missed by Gagarin who died 7 years after his famous trip when a training jet he was piloting crashed. He had been made deputy training director of the Cosmonaut Training Center and honored by many countries for his achievement.
The performance was discussed with NPR by the astronauts on the International Space Station - the fact that it is an international station shows that the space race is a thing of the past. Notice the flags behind the astronauts.
In many ways, far from being man's final frontier, man's mission into space has now come to represent a final frontier that is much closer to home; It is now being honored as a symbol of global unity - a resolution proposed by Russia and ratified less than a week ago by the U.N. General Assembly.
Russia has celebrated April 12th as the Day of Cosmonautics for the last 49 years, but this year, and from hereon for evermore, April 12th will be celebrated as the International Day of Human Space Flight.
"The International Day of Human Space Flight (12 April) was declared to celebrate each year at the international level the beginning of the space era for humankind, reaffirming the important contribution of space science and technology in achieving sustainable development goals and increasing the well-being of States and peoples, as well as ensuring the realization of their aspiration to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes."