In 1981, the Space Shuttle Columbia made it's maiden flight. It was quite incredible (even though I was at a tender young age then). The first mission was not to be until 1983. Columbia was the first Space Shuttle, a revolutionary concept of a reusable space vehicle which could land like a regular aeroplane. As it turned out, the Shuttle costs more to run than 'single shot' vehicles, but the concept is still sound (if not the execution).
Coincidentally (or not?) It's also 45 years since Yuri Gagarin first orbited the Earth.
As such, tonight is Yuri's night - an annual party to celebrate the birth of manned space exploration.