Presented By Alexei Leonov

Poyékhali! ("We have lift off!")

50 Years in Space

24 June, MAGMA Arts & Congress Hall


A tribute to Yuri Gagarin and his historical flight on Vostok 1 on 12 April, 1961. Close friends and renowned astronauts will share their memories of Yuri Gagarin, Vostok, Apollo and other key missions. Documents from Soviet archives will be shown and accompanied by a documentary about Gagarin. This unique conference, accompanied by musical performances, will take us to an amazing journay in time, highlighting the most dramatic and important moments in space exploration during the last 50 years.

We provide simultaneous interpretation into English, Spanish, Russian and French for all the speeches!

Alexei Leonov

Russian Cosmonaut

On 18 March, 1965, Alexey Leonov became the first human to conduct a space walk. This historic event occurred on the Voskhod 2 flight. He was outside the spacecraft for 12 minutes and nine seconds on 18 March, 1965, connected to the craft by a 5.35 metre tether. At the end of the spacewalk, Leonov’s spacesuit had inflated in the vacuum of space to the point where he could not re-enter the airlock. He opened a valve to allow some of the suit’s pressure to bleed off and was barely able to get back inside the capsule. From 1976 to 1982, Leonov was the commander of the cosmonaut team (“Chief Cosmonaut”) and deputy director of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. Leonov is an accomplished artist whose published books include albums of his artistic works. Arthur C. Clarke’s book 2010: Odyssey Two was dedicated Leonov and Andrei Sakharov; the fictional spaceship Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov was named after him.


Victor Gorbatko

Russian Cosmonaut

Victor Gorbatko was a pilot in the Soviet Air Force. In 1960, together with Gagarin and Leonov, he was selected as a cosmonaut and began his cosmonaut basic training. He flew as a research engineer on Soyuz 7 (1969) and as commander the missions Soyuz 24 (1977) and Soyuz 37/Soyuz 36 (1980). He also served as backup crew for Voskhod 2 and Soyuz 5, 21, 23 and 31. He acted as Deputy Sports Minister and later lectured at the Air Force Engineering Academy. Since 1993 he has been General Director of AA&AL, Moscow.


Bill Anders

NASA Astronaut and Physicist (USA)

After obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in 1955 from the United States Naval Academy, William ("Bill") Alison Anders entered the United States Air Force as a fighter pilot. He earned his Master of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering in 1962 from the Air Force Institute of Technology. In 1964 he was selected by NASA to join the third group of astronauts. He was backup pilot for Gemini XI and Apollo 11 missions. In 1968 he Lunar Module pilot for Apollo 8, the first manned mission to leave Earth orbit. It was Anders who took the “Earthrise” photograph of Earth seen rising above the surface of the Moon from lunar orbit — one of the most iconic images of the twentieth century. After leaving NASA, Anders turned to a career in high-level management of nuclear energy. His life and career are recounted in the book In the Shadow of the Moon (2007).


Neil A. Armstrong

NASA Astronaut (USA)

After serving as a Naval Aviator, he served 17 years with the NACA and NASA as an engineer, test pilot, astronaut and administrator. As a research pilot at NASA's Flight Research Center at Edwards, California, he was a project pilot on many pioneering high speed aircraft, including most of the early supersonic jets, the rocket powered X-1, the vertical take off and landing X-14, and the well known X-15, which he flew to over 60 kilometers altitude and 6400 kilometers per hour. He transferred to astronaut status in 1962. He was the commander of the Gemini 8 flight in 1966 when he performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space. As spacecraft commander for Apollo 11, he, with colleagues Mike Collins and Buzz Aldrin, completed the first landing mission to the moon. He received his engineering degrees from Purdue University and the University of Southern California. During the years 1971-1979, he was Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He is a member of the U. S. National Academy of Engineering and the Royal Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco. In 2002, Mr. Armstrong retired as Chairman of the EDO Corporation, an electronics and aerospace manufacturer.


Jim Lovell

NASA Astronaut (USA)

Captain James A. Lovell, Jr, joined the space programme in 1962 following extensive experience as a Naval Aviator and Test Pilot. He was backup pilot for Gemini 4 and backup commander for Gemini 9. He was the pilot on Gemini 7, the first rendezvous of two manned spacecraft in 1965, and commander of the Gemini 12 mission in 1966. Lovell became command Module Pilot and Navigator for Apollo 8 - man's maiden voyage to the moon - and backup commander to Neil Armstrong for the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. Lovell's fourth and final flight was on Apollo 13 in 1970. Captain Lovell's education prepared him for the change from explorer to businessman. Since leaving NASA, he has led a successful high-executive career. He has received honorary doctorates from many universities, together with an impressive share of honours and awards. In 1994, he and Jeff Kluger wrote Lost Moon, the story of the courageous mission of Apollo 13. In 1995, the film version of the bestseller Apollo 13 was released to rave reviews.


Buzz Aldrin (Edwin Eugene Aldrin , Jr.)

NASA Astronaut and Mechanical Engineer (USA)

Buzz Aldrin graduated with first class honours in Mechanical Engineering at West Point in 1951 and joined the United States Air Force as a fighter pilot. In 1963, he obtained his ScD in Astronautics, the subject of his thesis being the rendezvous of spacecraft in orbit. In that same year, he joined NASA as an astronaut. Aldrin was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission in history. On 20 July, 1969, he and mission commander Neil Armstrong were the first men to set foot on the Moon. Known among his astronaut colleagues as “Dr Rendezvous”, in 1985 Aldrin devised a special type of Earth-Mars spacecraft trajectory now known as the Aldrin Cycler. Aldrin has written two autobiographies: Return To Earth (1973) and Magnificent Desolation (2009). He is an energetic campaigner for space tourism as a means of engaging the public in space exploration. In 1993 he produced a computer strategy game called Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing, Buzz teamed up with Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Talib Kweli, and Soulja Boy to create the rap single and video Rocket Experience.


Charlie Duke

NASA Astronaut (USA)

Charles ("Charlie") Moss Duke, Jr, graduated in Naval Sciences at the United States Naval Academy in 1957 and obtained a master’s degree in Aeronautics from the Massechusettes Institute of Technology in 1964. Duke entered the US Air Force in 1957 and served as a fighter interceptor pilot in Germany. He is now a retired Brigadier General of the US Air Force. In April 1966, he was selected to join NASA’s fifth group of astronauts. Duke served as "capcom" at Mission Control in Houston for the Apollo 11 mission and was backup Lunar Module pilot for Apollos 13 and 17. As Lunar Module pilot for Apollo 16 in 1972, Charlie Duke became the tenth – and youngest – man so far to walk on the Moon.


Claude Nicollier

ESA Astronaut and Astrophysicist, Professor of Space Technology at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)

Claude Nicollier studied Physics at the University of Lausanne and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1970. He then worked as a graduate scientist from 1970 to 1973 at the Institute of Astronomy at the University and at the Geneva Observatory before obtaining a Master of Science degree in Astrophysics from the University of Geneva in 1975. Nicollier has spent over 1000 hours in space, including one space walk lasting 8 hours and 10 minutes. He served as mission specialist on four missions with four different space shuttles: Atlantis, Columbia, Discovery and Endeavour. He has received many honours and medals, including the IAF Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal. Nicollier installed the famous Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) on the Hubble Space Telescope. This camera was used to image the Hubble Deep Field in 1995, the Hourglass Nebula and the Egg Nebula in 1996, the Hubble Deep Field South in 1998 and many other important objects.


Yuri Baturin

Russian Cosmonaut

In 1973 Yuri Mikhailovich Baturin he graduated at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. In 1980 he also graduated at the Law Institute of Moscow State University, where he also obtained a doctorate in laws. A former politician, he has been Head of National Security and has served on the National Defence Council. In 1997 he was selected as a cosmonaut. In 1998 he flew on Soyuz TM-28/Soyuz TM-27 as a research cosmonaut and in 2001 on Soyuz TM-32/Soyuz TM-31 as flight engineer.