Yuri Gagarin's brief journey into space allowed the Soviet Union to beat the United States in sending the first human into orbit around the Earth. The 18th International Space Symposium now underway in Houston, commemorated the
milestone. Dr. Kenneth Souza is chief scientist for the space biology project at NASA's Ames Research Center.
"This is a fantastic meeting. It brings together the international community in the life and space sciences but more importantly, it brings together people that are from diverse backgrounds."
Dr. Inessa Kozlovskaya with the Russian Academy of Sciences, says what happened 50-years ago paved the way for international participation in space flight.
"I see it already, like is now joined Canada, Japan and everybody brought already something."
Dr Carolyn Huntoon was director of the Johnson Space Center during the first part of phase-1. She says once the Iron Curtain came down, Russia and the U.S. realized that the universe was big enough for them to work together.
"We learned so much from each other, had different ways of doing things, but when you understood what the other side was doing, it helped you focus better better techniques, and beta analysis and all. So, we helped each other I think, quite a bit."
Professor Bill Paloski with the University of Houston, helped land the conference after it was in China and Russia.
"It's competitive. We had to write a proposal to the IAA to bring it here to Houston. We had to tell them everything we were gonna do, and how it was gonna work out, and we competed with three other locations to get it here. We're very pleased that the international community was willing to come here to Houston for this meeting."
The 18th IAA Humans in Space Symposium continues through Friday at the Westin Galleria Hotel.