Seeing the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics was near the top of our list of fun things to do in Moscow. Having both retired from the airline industry, we like all things "air!!"
After we arrived, we had a disappointment though. We found you could take photos with your smart phone for free, but there was a charge of about $2.50 USD to take photos with your camera. Unfortunately I had left my purse on the bus which contained my phone and money. There was not time to go back, so I was unable to take photos here. Luckily our niece Teshia visited this museum recently and she sent us a few photos. I'll try to incorporate them with notes I took.
I did get some outside and entrance shots though. This was the fence that surrounds the property. It is engraved with a Sputnik One symbol. Its 3-month orbit launched the space age and revealed remarkable scientific discoveries. From there through competition to cooperation the then Soviet Union / now Russian Federation and the USA embarked on a stunning space journey over the next 60 years.
The front grounds were colorful flowers planted to incorporate celestial designs. Here is a star and skies.
View from the lobby into the museum. My guess is this statue represents the myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun. His wings of feathers and wax melted and he fell to the sea and drowned. Not a happy ending, but a salute to early space exploration.
The rest of the photos are from our niecey. Beautiful celestial ceiling in the first of five exhibit rooms.
Featured front and center are taxidermied female dogs Belka (right) and Strelka, first earth animals to orbit the earth and return safely in 1960.
... and handsome and charming Yuri Gagarin, first human to journey into outer space with one orbit around the earth on April 12, 1961. He has one big Hollywood smile.
The Russians are very proud of their "firsts." Others are first satellite in space (Sputnik One in 1957), first non-human probe on the moon (Luna II in 1959), first woman and civilian in space (Valentina Tereshkova in 1963), first space walk (Alexei Leonov in 1965), and first remote-controlled rover on a celestial body...the moon (Lunokhov I in 1970). All very impressive in my book!
Displayed in the museum are 3,500+ items related to Russian space history from freeze-dried food packages to rockets and live-aboard pods. To see them there is a gradual winding "trail" through five rooms and three levels. There are no stairs involved, so those with wheelchairs or having trouble walking can see the entire museum with ease.
Here are some other things we saw, but my identification is sketchy. This displays orbital patterns of satellite communications on earth and in space. These satellites make possible practical tools for use in our everyday lives. Imagine our world without smart phones, the Internet, or GPS. Yikes!!
Model of the descent vehicle of the interplanetary station Mars-3. This scientific walking device evaluated and transferred valuable information (soil composition, atmosphere, temperature, terrain) from the surface Mars to Earth for the first time.
Rockets from the 1930s. Far right is a GIRD-09. It is the first Soviet experimental liquid hybrid fuel rocket (liquid oxygen and condensed gasoline.) Center bottom is a Rocket-212. It is a long-range missile with a liquid-fueled engine. Was launched from a rail truck to be used against remote targets. Don't know about the others. I really wonder about the one in the middle though. A work of art!
Model MIR space station interior which accommodated seven space men. This is a very popular exhibit because you can walk through the model and see bedrooms, dining room, work area, and bathrooms (looked pretty normal).
Model demonstrating a space walk repair on a space station.
Other things I remember are:
- Exercise equipment to get cosmonauts in shape for a trip to space, includes spinners, rise-and-drop machines, weightlessness sphere, and more.
- Dehydrated foods like tea, sauces, sour cream (I think Russians have it with every meal), mustard, oatmeal, spices, stroganoff, vegetables, and gum. Also, samples of can openers, silverware, and napkins...how civilized!
- A variety of things they grew in space like orchids, onions, and tomatoes in hanging baskets.
- Displays on minor medical training they had in case of an emergency in space, like minor dental surgery.
- Lunar-landers and moon-rovers.
- Tool kits, including a Makita drill (hey, Mike gave me one of those for Christmas years ago to use on theatre set-builds!!)
- Crew manuals.
- Meteors,which you could touch, and moon rocks.
- Emergency kits used while waiting for landing rescue (gun, medicine, dry fuel, whistle).
- Models and full-size space modules and rockets.
- Space poster art.
- Yuri Gagarin's cardiogram 24 hours before take-off. He was pretty cool, calm, and collected.
- Wall of fame, photos of pioneering astronauts.
- Back in the lobby there was a gift shop with some great photo books, but nothing in English.
Now outside, this architectural feature is on the roof of the museum. It is titled Monument to the Conquerors of Space. This 107 meter (351 feet) obelisk has a 70 degree incline and is made of titanium. It was erected in 1964 to celebrate Russia's achievements in space exploration. The design portrays the exhaust plume of the rocket located on its tip. A statue of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, pioneer of the astronautic theory, stands at its base.
I'll leave you with this quote: "Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever." Thus sayth Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (Russian scientist).