About Yuri’s Night

Yuri’s Night is a global celebration of humanity’s past, present, and future in space. Yuri’s Night parties and events are held around the world every April in commemoration of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human to venture into space on April 12, 1961, and the inaugural launch of the first Space Shuttle on April 12, 1981.

Yuri’s Night events combine space-themed partying with education and outreach. These events can range from an all-night mix of techno and technology at a NASA Center, to a movie showing and stargazing at your local college, to a gathering of friends at a bar or barbecue.

In 2011, the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight, over 100,000 people attended 567 officially-recognized events in 75 countries on all 7 continents, while tens of thousands more watched the 12-hour live Yuri’s Night Global Webcast and participated online in the virtual world of Second Life.

Photo credit: Sam Coniglio

Since 2001, Yuri’s Night has:

  • Featured talks and presentations by Ray Bradbury, Will Wright, George Takei, Richard Garriott, Anousheh Ansari, and many others
  • Been celebrated at the South Pole, Hayden Planetarium, and in orbit on the International Space Station
  • Planted hundreds of “moon trees” around the world in collaboration with American Forests
  • Received the “Best Presentation of Space” award from the Space Frontier Foundation
  • Trained the next generation of space leaders for organizations such as the National Space Society, Virgin Galactic, and Space Florida

Anyone can start a Yuri’s Night event, and it’s completely free. Are you interested? Register an event today →


Our Roots

The concept of Yuri’s Night was first conceived by Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides, George T. Whitesides, and Trish Garner during the Space Generation Forum at the UNISPACE III conference in 1999. The Vienna Declaration after UNISPACE III set up a new World Space Week “between 4 and 10 October for the yearly celebration at the international level.” This event was timed to commemorated the launch of Sputnik 1 on Oct 4 and the signing of the UN Outer Space Treaty on Oct 10. Wishing to specifically celebrate the human aspects of spaceflight, George and Loretta moved ahead with planning for the first Yuri’s Night event on April 12: a dual anniversary of human spaceflight achievements. In 2000, Yuri’s Night was announced as an event in LA scheduled for April 12, 2001. Friends and colleagues, including those from the Space Generation Forum, asked to host their own celebrations around the world at the same time. The World Space Party was born and continues to rock the planet today!

From 2001 until 2010, Yuri’s Night was a project of the Space Generation Advisory Council and run under the non-profit Space Generation Foundation in the United States. As of 2010 Yuri’s Night is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the United States.


Our Mission

The mission of Yuri’s Night is to use the excitement and inspiration of space as a catalyst for educating and developing the next generation of explorers. We fulfill this mission through a commitment to:

  • empowering leaders: in making a difference, pursuing their dreams, and inspiring others to do the same.
  • building communities: working shoulder to shoulder on visionary projects, overcoming barriers and finding common ground.
  • bridging cultures: be they geographic, social or technical, we are all learning to speak each other’s languages.
  • encouraging science literacy: bringing people hands-on experiences and passionate storytelling to explore their physical world and nurture their love of learning.
  • promoting a sustainable and peaceful future: sharing “the Overview Effect” with all people, inspiring them to take ownership of our home planet and the future of humanity.

Our Team

The Yuri’s Night Global Executive Team is a small, dedicated group of volunteers distributed around the world. The Global Team is the group that runs the Yuri’s Night website and Worldwide Event List, newsletters, social media efforts, and the higher level global tasks. Learn more about the Global Team →