Moscow has been home to various prominent spacecraft designers and space researchers, and is also where the first team of cosmonauts trained for their space flights. The city's research facilities been involved in spacecraft development, astronomical research, and medical and biological experiments.
In March 1958, a few months after the launch of the first artificial satellite, it was decided to build a monument marking the beginning of the space age. Sergey Korolev recommended that the monument be clad in polished titanium, a material widely used in the design of space equipment. The sides of the base are adorned with reliefs of scientists, designers, engineers and workers. The Monument to the Conquerors of Space was unveiled alongside a monument to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky—the great Russian scientist and founder of astronautic theory—at its base.
Place: Cosmonauts Alley
Cosmonauts Alley On the left is the Earth. On the right is a globe of the sky depicting the constellations. The alley is lined with granite star-shaped stelae depicting key milestones in the history of space exploration. At the centre of the alley is a round court with a sculpture depicting the solar system. The metal planets sit in the positions they were in at the time of Sputnik 1's launch. Here you will also find 14 monuments to prominent scientists, designers and cosmonauts.
Place: Cosmonauts Alley
It was Sergey Korolev's idea to put a museum inside the base of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space. The museum opened in 1981. It features eight exhibition halls, a cinema, a conference hall and over 99,000 exhibits. The most valuable include taxidermy mounts of the famous space-faring dogs Belka and Strelka, as well as the original ejection container in which they returned to Earth. The museum also features the SK-1 spacesuit used by Yuri Gagarin in training, a copy of the Volga airlock Aleksey Leonov went through during the first spacewalk, full-size replicas of the Lunokhod-1 lunar rover and many other unique artefacts.
Place: 111 Prospekt Mira
After the successful launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, the Soviet government rewarded Sergey Korolev and five other designers with country residences outside Moscow. The academic and his wife ended up living in theirs for seven years. After Korolev's death, his widow Nina asked the Soviet authorities to convert the house into a memorial museum and donated 19,000 assorted items to it. The museum opened in 1975. All the exhibits are authentic. They include Korolev's personal effects, as well as documents, letters, photographs, furniture, household items, paintings, and books from the designer's personal library.
Place: 28 1st Ostankinskaya
The Machine Engineering pavilion has been home to the Space exhibition since 1967.
A replica of the Vostok rocket, which put Gagarin into orbit, was erected in front of the pavilion. The replica, built at the Samara rocket centre, meets all the key specifications of the original launch vehicle—it weighs 4.7 tonnes and towers 38.4 meters over the ground, which is roughly equal to the height of a 16-storey high-rise flat block.
The Cosmonautics and Aviation center opened at the pavilion in 2018, and features over 120 unique aircraft and spacecraft exhibits.
Place: 119 Prospekt Mira, building 34
Khodynka, the birthplace of the Russian aircraft industry, played an important role in the history of Russian aviation and cosmonautics. Petroff Palace was home to the Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy, a higher educational institution and the world's oldest and largest aeronautics research school. The vast majority of pilot-cosmonauts graduated from the academy, including Yuri Gagarin, German Titov, Valentina Tereshkova, Aleksey Leonov, Vladimir Komarov. Over 800 of its graduates have been awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
Place: 40 Leningradsky Prospekt
The institute originally trained aviators and stratosphere pilots. At the main entrance to the building stands a monument to Laika, the first living creature sent into space. The ship had enough equipment and food supplies to last seven days, but Laika died from overheating just a few hours into the flight.
Her flight was hugely significant, providing researchers with the first data on solar radiation, weightlessness and g-forces during space flight. A total of 50 dogs were sent into space, 18 of which died. For this reason, the monument is often seen as a monument to all the animals that died during the exploration of space and testing on Earth.
Place: 12a Petrovsko-Razumovskaya Alley
The building of the former merchant restaurant Apollo is located close to Petroff Palace. Today, it houses one of the world's oldest aerospace museums, The Central House of Aviation and Cosmonautics. Its collection features over 36,000 exhibits, including authentic power plants, engines and plane propellers. The museum has nine halls dedicated to the history of aerospace, from aeronautics to space exploration. Exhibits include the re-entry vehicle of the Vostok spacecraft (used in a pilotless test flight before Gagarin's journey to space), as well as the world's only training simulator for the Buran spacecraft.
Place: 4 Krasnoarmeiskaya
The Moscow Planetarium is the oldest in Russia and one of the largest in the world. It was a popular place in Soviet times, and is where polar aviation pilots trained and cosmonauts studied astronavigation. The planetarium reopened in 2011 after undergoing renovations. Today it includes the small star hall, a 4D cinema, the Lunarium interactive museum, the halls of the Urania museum, the large and small observatories, and the Sky Park astronomy deck. Under the dome is the Large Star Hall, which is equipped with a projector capable of showing over 9,000 celestial bodies.
Place: 5 Sadovaya-Kudrinskaya, building 1
The building is one of the Seven Sisters and was built in 1954. It was home to the academic Valentin Glushko, the founder of Soviet rocket engine engineering and the chief designer at the Energia research and production company made up of the design bureau founded by Glushko and the design bureau originally headed by Sergey Korolev. Valentin Glushko made a huge contribution to modern space exploration. He designed the engines for the Vostok spacecraft used in the first human space flight, and was involved in the design of orbital space stations and the development of the Energia-Buran space shuttle system.
Place: 1 Kudrinskaya Square
Yuri Gagarin's space flight lasted only 108 minutes—but those minutes jump-started a new era of human history. After his tragic death during a training flight in 1968, the decision was made to erect a large monument in Moscow dedicated to the first human in space. The site for the monument was chosen deliberately, located in one of Moscow's largest squares, Kaluzhskaya (renamed Gagarin Square in 1968).
Gagarin was driven through this square into Moscow along Leninsky Prospekt from Vnukovo Airport to present his report on the results of the first space flight to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Place: Gagarin Square
Moscow's first observatory is still up and running in a quiet alley on Three Hills over the Moskva River. In 1827, philanthropist Zois Zosimas donated his dacha in Presnya to the Imperial Moscow University 'so they can convert it into an observatory or something else useful'. The main tower of the observatory, which sits on a special double foundation to ensure the accuracy of measurements, had a huge rotating dome added to it in 1900. Under the dome is a famous 15-inch double photographic telescope—the second largest in Russia.
Place: 5 Novovagankovsky Lane, building 1
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