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Europe in space: European astronauts and cosmonauts

Images and videos featuring Europe's space flights

Adrian Murphy (opens in new window) (Europeana Foundation)

Since the 1950s, humans have been exploring space, the final frontier. 

During the 1960s, the space race was waged between the USA and USSR. Since then, space exploration and voyages have become synonymous with international cooperation - with an increasing number of European astronauts travelling to space.

Let's look at a selection of images and videos featuring astronauts from cultural heritage institutions across Europe.

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin was a Soviet cosmonaut who was the first person to journey into space. In April 1961, his capsule Vostok 1 completed one orbit of the earth.

After his historic space flight, Gagarin toured many countries throughout Europe and the rest of the world. 

[Watch this report from Czech Television shows Gagarin visiting Prague.](

During a visit to Athens, Gagarin became an honorary citizen of Greece and visited the Acropolis.

[Watch this report of his visit to Greece.](

Valentina Tereshkova

Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space, orbiting the Earth 48 times in a mission in 1963. After this mission, like Gagarin previously, she toured extensively - making 42 trips abroad between 1963 and 1970. 

Even today, she is still the only woman to have completed a solo space mission. 

This short video shows a telephone call between Valentina Tereshkova and Premier of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev during her space mission.

Entretien téléphonique entre Nikita Khrouchtchev et Valentina Tereshkova, INA, In copyright

This video shows highlights of Tereshkova’s visit to Cuba in 1963.

This interview with Tereshkova was filmed in 1973 during a visit to Bucharest.

EXPLORE MORE: Collections about Valentina Tereshkova

Sigmund Jahn

Sigmund Jähn was a German cosmonaut and pilot. In 1978, became the first German to fly into space - in a collaboration between the Soviet Union and East Germany.

EXPLORE MORE: Collections about Sigmund Jahn

Bertalan Farkas

Bertalan Farkas was a Hungarian cosmonaut, who flew to space in 1980 along with Soviet cosmonaut Valeri Kubasov. After 7 days, they returned to Earth having completed 124 orbits.

Including an interview with Bertalan Farkas, this television show from Hungary gives an inside view to Hungarians involvement in space flight.

EXLORE MORE: Collections on Bertalan Farkas

Wubbo Ockels

Wubbo Ockels, an astronaut of the European Space Agency, was the first Dutch citizen in space, part of a 1985 Space Shuttle Challenger voyage.

This documentary from Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision outlines the preparations and chronicles the space shuttle’s flight. 

EXPLORE MORE: Meet Dumitru Prunariu, the first Romanian cosmonaut

André Kuipers

André Kuipers - an astronaut from Amsterdam - became the second Dutch citizen to go to space, on a voyage to the International Space Station in 2004. At the end of 2011, he was the first Dutch astronaut to return to space beginning a 7 month mission to the International Space Station. 

This report - from the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision - shows the preparations for Kuipers’ first space flight. 

video hungary Netherlands Russia film Germany space