It was 50 years ago today that man first successfully ventured into outer space. Yuri Gagarin, a Russian pilot and cosmonaut, was the first man to complete an orbit. He instantly became a world wide celebrity and kicked the Cold War and space race, into overdrive.

In celebration of the event, a movie was made called First Orbit with footage shot from the International Space Station. Engineers calculated that every 6 weeks, the ISS crew would be flying over the same ground that Yuri would have seen on his flight, at the same time. Audio from the original flight was added to make the film more authentic.

The International Space Station is also commemorating the event with a something pretty close to my heart, using Amateur Radio. They have turned on the ARISS Sat-1, which is a Ham Radio beacon and computer bulletin board, on the station itself, that ham radio operators can hear and log into via VHF and UHF radios. Anyone can hear it actually, if you have a scanner or radio that can pick up the frequency and the station is in line of sight above the horizon of your location.

The Southgate Amateur Radio Club website has the details on that should you be interested in trying to listen in. But you'll only have till tomorrow as it will be shutdown to save on battery power.

But the event itself it a testament to the technology we have created. Our iPods and computers today, are thousands of times, more powerful then the computers used back then to send man into orbit and to the moon. And now, with NASA and other space agencies from around the world looking at a manned mission to Mars in the future we can be pretty sure that the technology to follow will be even more amazing, and the people that go, will be just as brave.