Yuri's Night: The World Space Party
announces a celebration honoring 43 years of human space exploration with its annual flagship evening gala in Los Angeles on Monday, April 12, 2004. Guests will be joined by revelers at simultaneous space parties across the globe, in more than 50 cities in 23 countries on all seven continents.
First observed in 2000, Yuri's Night occurs annually on April 12, marking the anniversaries of Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's first spaceflight in 1961 and the first space shuttle mission 20 years later. Each year, a series of space-themed parties, dinners and educational events are held around the world to mark these historic achievements. Organized by the non-profit Space Generation Foundation, Yuri's Night plays off the tremendous popularity of the rave party phenomenon to introduce teens and young adults to the thrill of space.
With 360 degrees of retro-space chic inspired by the Apollo era, Encounters Restaurant at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will once again host the 2004 Yuri's Night flagship celebration, which will feature a presentation by world-renowned science fiction author Ray Bradbury. Best known for The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, and Something Wicked This Way Comes, Bradbury is also famous for his extraordinary ability to "translate" passion for space to any audience or age group.
"We're thrilled Mr. Bradbury will be joining us this year," said 30-year-old Astrobiologist Loretta Hidalgo, co-founder of Yuri's Night and the Space Generation Foundation, both based in Los Angeles. "His incredible energy and passion for space exploration is precisely the level of enthusiasm our generation is committed to bringing back to the space program."
Bradbury will speak during the VIP Reception scheduled from 7:30 - 9 p.m. During the reception, NASA's JPL Mars Exploration Rover (MER) team will receive the Earth and Space Foundation's first Exploration Award for its innovative work exploring the Red Planet. On hand to accept the award will be 30-year-old Flight Director Chris Lewicki.
"The MER team has done a fantastic job exploring Mars with the indomitable Spirit and Opportunity rovers," said Earth and Space Foundation co-founder Douglas Messier. "Their creativity and perseverance reminds us that a great team, willing to give it their all for a greater good, really can do the impossible."
"Space applications and exploration represent one of the largest growth areas within Boeing," said Marshall Short, Director at Boeing Satellite Systems Engineering, a corporate sponsor of the event. "With today's competitive marketplace, it's increasingly important that we attract skilled employees with not just the requisite technical skills but also a passion for creating a bold future worthy of our proud past. Yuri's Night is a great opportunity to celebrate our shared history while promoting interest in space-related careers."
Following the VIP event, Yuri's Night will continue until 2 a.m. with a dance party that will feature the prominent local house and trance DJ's as well as a midnight toast to other Yuri's Night space parties taking place around the world.
This year, at least 50 events will be held in 23 nations on all seven continents during the weekend of April 10-12. XM Satellite Radio will broadcast party highlights from a number of the celebrations. Yuri's Night LA is also planning a webcast.