Member of European Parliament,
Czech cosmonaut, Soyuz 28,
First European in space
“For me, then a 13-year-old boy who longed for adventure, discovery and accomplishment, the first human flight into space was an extraordinary experience. It was, however, also an impulse.
"I was aware that something very special had just happened, but only over the years have I come to understand the significance of this event as an important milestone in the history of humankind.
"The orbital flight of Yuri Gagarin gave me motivation and helped make my childhood dream come true. After only 17 years, I was given the opportunity to follow Yuri Gagarin and 86 other Soviet cosmonauts and American astronauts. Only 50 years since this first step, ‘space flying’ is today an ordinary phenomenon for us. Its face, however, will always remain that of Yuri Gagarin.”