As the worldwide celebration of Space Week culminates, it's time for us to take a peek inside the Russian cosmonauts' world, and marvel at the facilities they use to explore the world outside our own.
Half a century ago, the world rejoiced as Russian pilot and cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin successfully completed the first manned spaceflight. Although he only lingered in space for a little under two hours, the Soviet spaceman’s achievement definitely fueled the imagination of man. What could he have seen? What could possibly be out there?
The United States soon followed suit, sending its first spacemen off to explore the world outside our own. Alan Shepard did a sub-orbital flight in May 1961, followed by an orbital flight by John Glenn about a year later. Eventually, innovations in spaceflight allowed man to fly to the farthest destination possible—the moon. Soon, “man on the moon” was no longer a figment of imagination; Neil Armstrong was there, walking about, making “one giant leap for mankind.”
But, before this becomes a comparison of achievements, why don’t go back to where it all began, to the advent of man’s journey to the dark void that has so much power to pull man out of his comfort zone. Let’s probe deeper into the cosmonaut’s cosmos, and marvel at the little corner in the planet where Russia trained its spacemen since Gagarin’s time.
The photos above were taken by London-based Russian photographer Maria Gruzdeva at the aptly-named Star City, a complex in northeastern Moscow where all cosmonauts since Gagarin’s time have trained. Aged as they may appear, the facilities in the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center are actually far from museum materials. They are still being maintained, upgraded, and used, as Russia quietly but consistently carries on with its own space business up to the present.
You can find these photos and more in her book published early this year, entitled “Direction—Space!”.
Sources and additional readings:
Direction: Space! Inside Russia’s space facilities — Telegraph
Star City, Russia — Wikipedia
Human Spaceflight — Wikipedia