Yuri's Night 2021: Celebrate 60 years of human spaceflight tonight with Bill Nye, astronauts, OK Go and more

Celebrate human spaceflight at Yuri's Night tonight (April 10) with Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye (aka the Science Guy), former NASA astronaut and NFL player Leland Melvin, Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson, the band OK Go, Inspiration4 astronaut Sian Proctor among other special space guests.

Monday, April 12 marks two major space anniversaries: 60 years since the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space (April 12, 1961) and 40 years since the first space shuttle flight (April 12, 1981). 

Yuri's Night, an annual event co-created by author and spaceflight advocate Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides and Chief Space Officer of Virgin Galactic George Whitesides that celebrates human spaceflight, will also be celebrating its 20th anniversary with this year's Global Livestream event. 

Related: How the first human spaceflight worked (infographic)

This year, Yuri's Night is virtual with a global event with the theme of "Earthseed," a reference to the book "Parable of the Sower" by sci-fi writer Octavia E. Butler. NASA recently named the Perseverance rover's touchdown site "Octavia E. Butler Landing" after the author. 

"The book shares a powerful vision for a spiritual path that can bring communities together during hard times and inspire them with a vision of bringing life to the stars," the Yuri's Night team said in a statement emailed to Space.com. "That vision seemed fitting this year," Loretta Whitesides said in the statement. 

Yuri's Night will feature a number of exciting events and performances throughout the evening. Of the activities you can expect, OK Go will be debuting a brand new collaborative music video project made with the help of fans from home during the pandemic.

This year, you can even show up a full day early to the Yuri's Night celebration as on Friday (April 9), there will be a special event on Twitch featuring Everyday Astronaut, author and spaceflight historian Amy Shira Teitel and YouTube personality and astrophysicist Scott Manly. 

How to attend the party

As it's a virtual event, Yuri's Night 2021 will be available for all around the world to attend online. You can watch the event live here on Space.com and on YouTube and find more information about the event at the Yuri's Night website. The event will begin at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT). 

You can even host your own virtual watch party alongside the Livestream and enjoy the event with your friends over Zoom. 

Yuri's Night is a free event, but for those who want to get a bit closer to the action there are two paid experience options: a "Backstage Pass," which includes a pre-show party, celebrity guest video chats and an after party, and a "VVIP package," which additionally includes "swag," drinks shipped to your home and a private online party with private astronaut Richard Garriott. You can learn more about these options on the Yuri's Night website. 

Special guests 

This year, Yuri's Night will feature a number of appearances by special guests including: Bill Nye, Sir Richard Branson, Sian Proctor, Leland Melvin, Richard Garriott, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency, NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, Star Trek Executive Producer Rod Roddenberry, National Geographic Explorer Wasfia Nazreen, the Everyday Astronaut Tim Dodd, Tesla Pickup builder Simone Giertz, former SpaceX Director of Design Hillary Coe, Kelvin Manning, Associate Director of Kennedy Space Center, Frank White, author of the Overview Effect and Virgin Galactic flight ticket-holder Trevor Beattie. 

Email Chelsea Gohd at cgohd@space.com or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Chelsea Gohd
Senior Writer

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined Space.com in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.