Today should be declared Space Day! Cosmonautics Day is celebrated by the masses in Russia and those of us who have been personally effected by or involved with the Russian Space Program.
1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first human being in space! Yea, yea... FIA or whoever actual definitions aside - Yuri was definitely the first human in space regardless of how and where he landed! I picked up these little goodies in Russia (back when they were cheap in the mid-to-late 90s). You can find absolutely anything you can imagine to commemorate that historic day - even today!
I recently had a friend seem not impressed by my collections - a big part of my collection revolves around the pop culture of the manned space race. I find these things fun and full of life and imagination. He felt they were not personal collectibles. On the contrary, each of these items is very personal and many were acquired while being provided amazing opportunities for international travel to support NASA's international partners.
And nothing is more dear to my heart than the Space Shuttle! My entire 20+ year space career has revolved around the space shuttles. I counted it up one time - I think it was 75 flights I had been involved in. In 1981, on this day, Columbia was the first Space Shuttle to launch. I wish it was celebrated more - maybe it will be now that they are on the verge of being reduced to educational tools and museum relics instead of the amazing flying machine in its prime that it should be! I have every Time, Life, and Newsweek space cover, most framed on the wall.
The First Three or 2001 (1971)
6 days ago