Now, nearly double the time has elapsed since that day in 1981 than did between Gagarin’s flight and the launch of STS-1. The Space Shuttle is retired and Columbia itself was lost to tragedy, but space travel does press on. The reusable vehicles that will compose the next generation of spacecraft may look a lot more like the Apollo capsules of the ‘60s and ‘70s than they Space Shuttle, but they have shown promise. When we finally see those rockets launch with crews aboard, I bet it’ll be as exciting as this was back in 1981.