This SkySat image collected on March 23, 2020, shows Gagarin’s Start, the launchpad that kicked off the Space Age. © 2020, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.
AUTHOR PROFILE Mike Safyan
Curious Planeteer working to make the Earth's changes visible, accessible and actionable.

Celebrating the International Day of Human Spaceflight

Stories

Today we celebrate the United Nations’ International Day of Human Space Flight, a day that commemorates cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s historic orbital flight in 1961. While the origin of this date is tied to the first human space flight (and is usually celebrated around the world with some rockin’, space-themed Yuri’s Night parties), its significance reaches even further. This day is meant to celebrate the space era we now live in and to elevate the importance of science and technology for improving life on Earth.

“[The International Day of Human Spaceflight was invented] to celebrate each year at the international level the beginning of the space era for mankind,” according to the United Nations. “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.”

At Planet, we believe that space exploration can help create a better world. It’s why I’ve been at Planet for over eight years and why I still show up to work every day excited to see what new insights our satellite imagery will reveal.

Much like Gagarin’s flight is considered a global, human achievement (rather than just a Soviet one), Planet’s fleet of Earth imaging satellites are bringing benefits to every corner of the globe. The next decade may be our most crucial yet when it comes to achieving the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a holistic approach to creating sustainability for all.

From tracking deforestation to mapping the world’s coral reefs to monitoring human rights crises as they evolve, the long list of amazing organizations that we partner with continue to develop breakthrough solutions and ideas that can help balance economic growth, social well-being and ecological stewardship.

“Planet’s Mission One [was] to launch a fleet of satellites that would image the entire Earth every day and democratize access to [information],” said Planet co-founder Will Marshall in his 2018 TED Talk. “We wanted to give people the tools to see change and take action.”

This is what we do, day in and day out, and I’m proud to be a part of that effort. I’m proud of my colleagues that contribute their passion and talents to making that vision a reality, and I’m proud of all of our partners and customers that help bring the benefits of space exploration right back down to Earth. Wishing everyone a happy International Day of Human Spaceflight.

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