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NASA Symposium Marks Key Human Spaceflight Anniversaries

April 20, 2011

Katherine Trinidad 
Headquarters, Washington                                         



WASHINGTON -- NASA's History Program Office and the National Air and 
Space Museum's Division of Space History are hosting a joint 
symposium entitled "1961/1981: Key Moments in Human Spaceflight." 

The symposium is April 26-27 in the James Webb Auditorium at NASA 
Headquarters, located at 300 E St. SW in Washington from 9 a.m. to 5 
p.m. EDT. It is open to the public and news media. 

The symposium reflects on 50 years of human spaceflight using 1961 and 
1981 as starting points for broader investigation and insight. 
Leading historians and social scientists will address the rich 
history of human spaceflight marking four important anniversaries. 

Three key events occurred in 1961: Yuri Gagarin became the first human 
to travel in space; Alan Shepard became the first American in space; 
and President John F. Kennedy gave his famous speech before Congress 
which started the Apollo program. 

This conference also marks the 30th anniversary of STS-1, the first 
space shuttle mission which launched April 12, 1981. The 54-hour, 
36-orbit test flight mission verified the shuttle's capabilities and 
ushered in a new era of exploration. 

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will open the symposium. Other 
speakers include the agency's Chief Historian Bill Barry, and Paul 
Ceruzzi, Roger Launius, and Michael Neufeld of the National Air and 
Space Museum's Division of Space History. 

Keynote speakers include Michael F. Robinson of the University of 
Hartford, who will discuss "Lessons from the Last Frontier," and 
George C. Herring of the University of Kentucky on the "The Cold War 
and Human Spaceflight." 

For more information, agenda, to register or to view the symposium 
webcast, visit: 


For information about NASA and agency programs, visit: 



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