Russia today marked 60 years since Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space.
People across the country commemorated the anniversary by laying flowers, planting trees and organising a concert.
At the Moscow Zoo, however, the commemoration involved a feast in the panda enclosure — with an edible bamboo rocket.
The feat was also praised from space itself, in a message by Russian cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov on board the International Space Station.
Gagarin's steely self-control was a key factor behind the success of his pioneering 108-minute spaceflight.
His mission, on April 12 1961, encountered glitches and emergencies, from the capsule's entry hatch failing to shut properly just before blastoff, to a parachute misfire in the final moments before touchdown.
But the successful one-orbit flight turned Gagarin, then aged 27, into a national icon.
Gagarin was flown to Moscow to a hero's welcome, hailed by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, and cheered by enthusiastic crowds who celebrated his flight as a triumph on par with the country's victory in World War II.
His achievement cemented Soviet supremacy in space until the United States put a man on the moon more than eight years later.
By then, Gagarin had died in a training jet crash at the age of 34.