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“You look at us today … representing all of the nations, really. And you see where we’ve come,” he told reporters from the space station.

Russia spent Tuesday celebrating its Gagarin’s space accomplishment in 1961. It was another 23 days before American Alan Shepard became the second man in space.

A Soviet capsule that carried a dog into space and was used on a test run weeks before Gagarin’s flight was auctioned Tuesday for $2.9 million in New York. Sotheby’s said the anonymous seller bought it privately from the Russians years ago. It was bought by Russian businessman Evgeny Yurchenko, who wants it to go to a Russian museum, according to the auction house.

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Associated Press writers Alicia Chang in Los Angeles; Dan Sewell in Dayton, Ohio; Seth Borenstein in Washington; Marcia Dunn in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Verena Dobnik in New York; and Will Weissert in San Antonio contributed to this report.

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Online:

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov

Smithsonian: http://www.nasm.si.edu/

Kennedy Space Center: http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/

Calif. Science Center: http://www.californiasciencecenter.org/

Intrepid: http://www.intrepidmuseum.org/shuttle/