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Medvedev: Space Exploration More Pragmatic But "dream" Still Alive

Yuri Gagarin and Huntsville Times Front Page About Space ShotMOSCOW. April 12 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has described Yury Gagarin's space flight in 1961, the first-ever manned space flight, as "an absolutely revolutionary event."

"I am sure that it was an absolutely revolutionary event, and an absolutely symbolic one as well, it was an outstanding achievement for Soviet cosmonautics," Medvedev told Chinese reporters ahead of a planned trip to a summit in China on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday that will seal South Africa's joining BRIC, an economic alliance that brings together Brazil, Russia, India and China and will become BRICS at the meeting.

After Gagarin's flight, "the whole world was divided in what existed before man's flight into space and what became the space era," he said.

"One reason why that event remains a fundamental landmark in the development of human genius is that it was important, after all, to take that first step. And I am very proud that it was my country that took that first step," the president said.

He said space exploration had become more pragmatic since then. "We try to perform experiments, we try to use new technologies in space. But there remains a dream, of course, a dream about conquering other planets, other stellar systems. I don't know when this will happen," Medvedev said.

"Mankind will always be trying to combine these two approaches: on the one hand, the desire, the dream to keep exploring space, and, on the other, an absolutely pragmatic attitude to space as something that bring not only interesting results of research but absolutely practical things as well," he said.

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