13 Astronauts Celebrate 2 Big Space Anniversaries

By: Marcia Dunn / AP Aerospace Writer
By: Marcia Dunn / AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- The 13 astronauts circling the world are celebrating two big space anniversaries today. It’s been 49 years since the first person rocketed into space and 29 years since the first shuttle launch.

Early Monday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called the residents of the International Space Station to wish them well on this Cosmonauts Day. It's a big Russian holiday. That's because the world's first spaceman was cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. He was launched on April 12th, 1961. And on April 12th, 1981, Columbia blasted off on the first space shuttle flight.

The astronauts aboard the shuttle-station complex got some time off Monday morning. They will carry out the third and final spacewalk of their mission Tuesday.

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