Space exploration remains a priority for Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev has said, as the country marks the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
“We were first into space, we have a huge number of achievements, we don’t want to lose our advantage,” he said.
The event is being marked by ceremonies and a 50-gun salute in Moscow.
Gagarin’s achievement dispelled fears humans could not survive beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.
Since his flight in 1961, more than 500 men and women have followed in his footsteps.