Yuri's Night parties leading up to Monday's Falcon 9 launch

By Jerry Hume, Brevard County Reporter
Last Updated: Saturday, April 11, 2015, 7:34 AM EDT

The world's largest space party is this weekend, all leading up to a SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral on Monday.

Sunday marks the 54th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's spaceflight. Gagarin, a Russian, was the first human to venture into space on April 12, 1961.

Then 20 years later, on April 12, 1981, the first space shuttle launched from the Space Coast.

So organizers decided to mark this time of the year by encouraging people around the world to celebrate space.

More than 200 "Yuri's Night" parties will take place from the South Pole to Greenland, to here in Central Florida, where half a dozen events are planned for this weekend.

Several parties are happening around Central Florida all weekend:

04/11/2015
10:00 am - 3:00 pm EDT

United States

Party For The Planet
Brevard Zoo, Melbourne FL

04/12/2015
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

United States

Yuri's Night Space Station Radio Transmission
Space View Park, Titusville FL

04/11/2015 - 04/12/2015
7:00 pm - 1:00 am EST

United States

Yuri's Night Cape Canaveral, Florida
Bacchae Wine Bar, Cape Canaveral FL

04/15/2015
6:45 pm - 9:00 pm EST

United States

Isolated and Dangerous: Analogue Research for Human Space Exploration
Galaxy Room at the Courtyard Marriott Cocoa Beach, Cocoa Beach Florida

04/11/2015 - 04/12/2015
All Day

United States

Yuri's Night UCF
UCF, Orlando Florida

"I love spaceflight, I want to go to space one day too and so it's just a great way to kind of contribute to human spaceflight" said Ryan Kobrick, Yuri’s Night Chairman and President

It all leads to a rocket launch Monday.

SpaceX is pressing forward with its sixth NASA-contracted mission.

Right now forecasters say there’s just a 60 percent chance of favorable weather conditions at the time of launch.

The unmanned Dragon cargo capsule is now filled with more than 4,300 pounds of supplies and science experiments for astronauts on board the International Space Station.

The Falcon 9 rocket is equipped with landing legs as well.

Soon after launch, and after the Dragon capsule is safely on its way to the ISS, the first stage of the rocket will separate.

Then SpaceX will fire some engines and use grid fins and the landing legs to land the rocket vertically on a floating barge out in the Atlantic Ocean.

Their last attempt was close, but hit the side of the unmanned barge, causing an explosion.

If they’re successful, SpaceX has already started working on a rocket landing pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The first of its kind.

Monday’s launch is set for 4:33 in the afternoon from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.