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Countdown on for Huge Space Party
By: Kathy Barnstorff

Inflatable astronaut.
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An inflatable astronaut will greet guests at Yuri’s Night, April 14, at the Virginia Air & Space Center. Credit: NASA/Kathy Barnstorff

Thermal image.
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Returning to Yuri’s Night by popular demand is NASA Langley’s thermal imaging technology that allows people to check out their body heat. Credit: NASA/Kathy Barnstorff

It's celebration time again for space enthusiasts worldwide and here in Hampton Roads. Many are counting down until Yuri’s Night, to be held Sat., April 14, from 7 p.m. to midnight, at the Virginia Air & Space Center (VASC) in downtown Hampton.

This will be Hampton Road's fourth Yuri's Night … but just who was Yuri and why should space enthusiasts honor him with a party? Yuri Gagarin became the first person in outer space on April 12, 1961. Twenty years later, April 12, 1981, marked the launch of the first U.S. space shuttle. Yuri’s Night celebrates these out-of-this-world accomplishments at hundreds of parties. Last year's total included 567 officially recognized events in 75 countries on all seven continents.

This year Yuri's Night Hampton Roads will also mark the 20th anniversary of the VASC and the 95th anniversary of one of the Virginia Air & Space Center's founders, NASA's Langley Research Center.

"We think it's important to keep the public excited about space exploration, especially as we work on the next generation of space capsules and launch vehicles," said Vince Whitfield, NASA Langley Yuri's Night lead. "Yuri's Night attracts a diverse cross section of the Hampton Road community – many of whom might not be exposed to NASA technology otherwise."

Yuri’s Night Hampton Roads' aerospace technology theme will let partygoers explore what's new at NASA and how NASA technology improves our everyday lives. Visitors can track their internal temperatures on a body heat map, view fantastic images of Earth from space and learn more about this summer's rover mission to Mars NASA's "Mindshift" technology, an offshoot of NASA Langley research to help pilots concentrate better, will test participants' stress levels and even offer insight in how to control stress.

"This year offers new entertainment, as well as some of oiur more popular artists," said Whitfield. "Plus we'll have some cool NASA technology on display."

The event will feature a fusion of entertainment, including music mixed by Hampton Roads’ DJ Jeyone, performances by an Alien Dance group, a high-tech hula hoop artist, local reggae favorite United Souls and more. There's even a space-themed costume contest where entrants can win prizes.

Yuri’s Night tickets are now on sale at $10 per person/$12 after April 13. They are available by calling 757-727-0900, extension 705, or on-line at: http://www.yurihr.com

Food is included with admission and beverages are available for purchase. Yuri’s Night is an event for those 18 and older.

The Researcher News
NASA Langley Research Center
Editor & Curator: Denise Lineberry
Managing Editor: Jim Hodges
Executive Editor & Responsible NASA Official: Rob Wyman