Medvedev hails Gagarin's 'revolutionary' flight
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday praised Yuri Gagarin's first manned space flight 50 years ago as a watershed that ushered in a new era of space exploration.
"I believe it was a truly revolutionary event," Medvedev said in an interview with Chinese television, a transcript of which was published by the Kremlin.
"It was an outstanding achievement of Soviet space exploration, which divided the world into the time before and the time after the flight, which became the space era," Medvedev said.
He said that Russia's space exploration had changed its focus from the first romantic days of space travel and now focused on practical results of its missions.
"There used to be a lot of idealistic vision regarding this. Now our efforts in space research have become more pragmatic. We conduct various experiments and try to apply new technologies in outer space," he said.
But he said that Russia still dreamed of reaching other worlds.
"We still cherish a hope, however, that sometime we will be able to conquer other planets, other stellar systems," he said. "I do not know how soon we will be able to achieve that."
Medvedev is set to visit the space mission control centre outside Moscow for the first time and speak to astronauts on the International Space Station at 1240 Moscow time (0840 GMT).
© 2011 AFP