Libmonster ID: BY-1534
Author(s) of the publication: Irina MARTYNOVA

by Irina MARTYNOVA, Head of the Scientific Publishing and Advertising Department of the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics (Moscow)

In 2006 the Moscow government took a decision on a complete reconstruction of the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics, which was located in the basement of the "Conquerors of Outer Space" monument from 1981 near Prospekt Mira. The work was completed in 2009, and a renovated unique complex, whose area increased from 3,000 m2 to 8,500 m2, received the first visitors.

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The stele in the form of a rocket directed up wards, leaving a noctilucous plume in the sky, installed in honor of the launch of the first artificial Earth satellite in 1957, is one of the most known and beautiful monuments in Moscow. The "Conquerors of Outer Space" monument (architects, Mikhail Barshch and Alexander Kolchin, sculptor, Andrei Faidysh-Krandievsky) is 110 m high, its incline angle is 77°, and the weight of its surface part amounts to 250 t.

Initially its authors intended to make a smoke-colored glass monument. However, later on, after accepting the proposal of the chief designer of rocket and space systems Academician Sergei Korolyov*, who was interested in everything related to outer space, they preferred solid and non-ageing (practically non-corrosive) polished titanium used in rocket engineering. The 1.5 mm thick panels made of this metal and glistening like mirrors cover the bearing structure like scales.

The sidewalls of the stele base represent a high relief with numerous bronze figures, symbolizing its main idea, i.e. work of scientists, engineers and workers, who contributed to a breakthrough to outer space. One of them represents Yuri Gagarin**, the first citizen of the Earth, who visited outer space. Nearby is a granite monument to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935)***, the founder of theoretical astronautics.

In 1964, the opening ceremony of the monument took place, and three years later of the Avenue of Heroes of Outer Space, which leads to the monument (the avenue was conceived as a part of the memorial). The busts of cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin (sculptor, Lev Kerbel), Valenti-na Tereshkova (sculptor, Grigory Postnikov), Pavel Be-lyaev, Alexei Leonov (sculptor, Andrei Faidysh-Krandievsky) and Vladimir Komarov (sculptor, Pavel Bonda-renko) were set up there, and some time later of a theo-


See: N. Korolyova, "His Name and Cosmos Are Inseparable", Science in Russia, No. 1, 2007. -Ed.

** See: A. Orlov, "He Opened Window Into Space", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2004. —Ed.

*** See: Ye. Kuzin, "Prophet of Cosmonautics, Citizen of the Universe", Science in Russia, No. 5. 2007.-Ed.

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retician of cosmonautics and President of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1961-1974 Academician Msti-slav Keldysh (sculptor, Yuri Chernov, 1981) and a pioneer of national engine construction Academician Valentin Glushko (sculptor, Anatoly Bichukov, 2001).

Today, after reconstruction, there appeared a bronze model of the Solar System with characteristics of planets, in particular, dimensions, temperature conditions, pressure, day-and-night periods, and seasons. The gallery of sculptures of scientists and first cosmonauts is supplemented by a 10 m monument to Sergei Korolyov (sculptors, Salavat and Sergei Shcherbakovs, 2009).

At present our stocks number over 85,000 units, including original space vehicles, models, archive documents, film- and photo documents, articles of numismatics, philately, phaleristics, fine and decorative-applied arts, etc. According to the outstanding scientist in the field of mechanical engineering and designer Academician Vladimir Utkin (1932-2000), the main task of the museum is to familiarize people not only with the achievements in exploration of the Universe, but also "with the history of groups of scientists, who started this work, with biographies of remarkable persons—creators of space engineering, a great miracle of the 20th century".

It is worth mentioning that the start of appropriate scientific research was initiated by Tsiolkovsky, who developed a formula of reactive motion, stated ideas of space flights, drew up calculations, schemes and a description of a multi-stage liquid-propellant rocket. The museum exposition reconstructs a part of the workshop in Kaluga, where he carried out his aerodynamic tests.

The Laboratory for Development of Inventions of Nikolai Tikhomirov* (in 1928 it was renamed into the Gasdynamic Laboratory) was established in 1921, and in 1931 the Reactive Motion Study Group (scientific research and design organization for creation of rockets and rocket engines) was set up in Moscow. It was headed by Friedrich Tsander, a scientist in the field of the interplanetary flight theory, one of the pioneers of rocket engi-


* Nikolai Tikhomirov (1860-1930)—the founder of the Gasdynamic Laboratory, which became the first scientific research and design organization in the USSR for development of rocket engineering.-Ed.

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neering and jet engines, and from 1932 by Sergei Korolyov, under whose direction GIRD-9 and GIRD-X experimental rockets were designed and produced.

In 1933, the Jet Propulsion Research Institute was set up based on these two research groups. It was the first in the world scientific organization, which united different directions of the theory and practical development of rocket engineering problems. Experimental liquid-pro-pellant engines, ballistic and winged missiles were designed at this institute.

Strenuous work of scientists moved the mankind closer to the first step to outer space. It happened on October 4, 1957, at 10:28 p.m. Moscow time, when the first artificial Earth satellite* with a 58 cm diameter and 83.6 kg weight was put into orbit. It was equipped with a block of electrochemical current sources, a radio transmitting set, a fan, an air duct of the temperature-control system, temperature-sensing elements, etc. The installed equipment made it possible to check the theoretical calculations and basic engineering solutions related to the rocket launch, to measure upper atmosphere density and to study characteristics of radio signal propagation in ionosphere.

On November 3, 1957, the second satellite took the dog named Laika to air-free space. It enabled scientists to study a long-term effect of weightlessness on the animal organism. One of the most interesting exhibits of the museum is an ejection container, in which on August 20, 1960, the dogs named Belka and Strelka returned to the Earth after a biomedical research program was fulfilled.

Of special interest for visitors is a museum section devoted to the preparation for a man's flight to space. Early in 1959, this problem was discussed at a meeting in the USSR Academy of Sciences. It was decided to select candidates for such important mission from pilots. Twenty candidates were selected (out of 3,000) after thorough examination by the end of the same year, and they formed the first cosmonaut group. In 1960-1961, five unmanned orbital spacecraft of the Vostok series were used to work out functioning of life-support and spacecraft recovery systems, to carry out biomedical experiments with animals, including dogs,** etc.

In 1961, Tsiolkovsky's prediction came true, who in the 1930s wrote about the first man who will take a step in outer space: "He is Russian... His bravery is wise and devoid of recklessness... I can well imagine his ingenuous Russian face and hawk eyes...". Yuri Gagarin became that man. Two years later Valentina Tereshkova, a fair sex representative, set off for the first time to unknown expanses.

Both flights were carried out by spacecraft of the Vostok series using a descent vehicle, which is displayed in our exposition. During the start, flight and descent to a height of 7 km, the cosmonaut was inside it, then he was catapulted and pancaked at a height of 4 km. The mass of


See: B. Chertok, "The First Artificial Satellite"; G. Grechko, "Satellite Going Into Orbit"; Yu. Markov, "Breakthrough Into Cosmos—Our Glory and Pride", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2007.—Ed.

** See:  O.  Gazenko et al.,  "Space  Medicine:  Yesterday,  Today, Tomorrow", Science in Russia, Nos. 3-4, 2006.-Ed.

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the vehicle is 2.46 t, the diameter—2.3 m and the inner space is 1.6 m3.

In 1964-1965, the multi-seat spacecraft Voskhod and Voskhod-2 were put into orbit. The former was equipped with a soft landing system for the crew in a descent vehicle, a reserve braking engine and new instrumental equipment. The latter became known thanks to the spacewalk of Alexei Leonov.

The flights of the Soyuz spacecraft started in 1967 (the last modification was Soyuz-TMA). The first spacecraft of this series was tested by Vladimir Komarov. He fulfilled a workout program of its systems and also a number of scientific experiments, however, he perished on his way back to Earth due to a failure of the parachute system. It should be stressed that Soyuz spacecraft can maneuver and dock with other vehicles. Therefore, the experience accumulated in the course of their operation, enabled Russian scientists to proceed to creation of long-term orbital stations.

This idea was realized practically in 1969, when it became possible to dock two spacecraft and members of the crews could go over from one spacecraft to another. In 1971, the first Salyut orbital complex was launched, which signified a start of a long-term flight program. In 1986-2001, the Mir space station* was in operation, where many technical solutions were tested in real conditions, which are now used at the International Space Station (its operation started in 1998 and continues up to this day).

The subject of manned flights is inseparable from stories about the cosmonaut profession, which is surrounded with an aureole of romance in our perception. However, one ought to bear in mind that its obligatory components include hard and dangerous work, daily long-term trainings on the earth, in the air, in a desert, mountains and on the sea, on numerous training aids and in classrooms, knowledge of skills of a pilot, test engineer and researcher.

More and more new branches of science and technology "appear" in outer space together with equipment complexes, and their control is placed on these brave people, who possess also extensive knowledge, creative thinking and objectivity. Moreover, they have to carry out not only a large volume of scientific experiments but also maintenance and repair of onboard systems, as well as to work in open free space.

Prolonged absence of the earthly gravitation in flight has a substantial impact on the functioning of such important systems as cardiovascular, and osseomuscular, and causes changes in the vestibular system, metabolic processes and blood distribution. To support health and efficiency of cosmonauts starting on a dangerous journey, Russian specialists worked out a set of physical exercises, training suits and also protective suits displayed in our museum. One of them, Berkut, is designed for a short-time exit into space, and another one, Orlan, allows cosmonauts to work there for at least 5 hours. Visitors will see also the Vector orthostatic stand designed for simulation of flight factors and training of the system of


See: V. Avduyevsky, "Processing Materials in Space", Science in Russia, No. 1, 2001.-Ed.

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blood circulation. Each crew member has approximately 10 training sessions.

Descent from orbit and landing of a spaceship are the most complicated stages of a space flight. A special complex of means reduces overloading of a descent vehicle to a level not causing structural and onboard equipment damage, and is easily endured by the crew. To decrease the rate of descent, the parachute system is used, and then powder engines for soft landing.

In 1959-1976, a total of 24 space vehicles for exploration of the Moon* were launched in our country. It is well known that the Moon circles the Earth and rotates around its own axis for 27.5 days, therefore only one side is always turned to us. Temperature at the equator ranges there from 130°C (in the day-time) to -200°С (at night), and meteorite and volcanic craters are the most common formations on the surface.

The Luna-1 automatic interplanetary station, which was launched on January 2, 1959, and exceeded for the first time the escape velosity (11.2 km/s), approached our natural satellite at a distance of 6,000 km in 34 hours after the start and then entered the perisolar orbit. On September 12, 1959, the Luna-2 station laid a foundation for travels to other celestial bodies and delivered the USSR pendant to the Moon. On October 7 the Luna-3 station circled the Moon and transmitted a TV photo of its invisible side to the Flight Control Center.

The Luna-9 station created in Sergei Korolyov's lifetime, but launched after his death (1966), is also worth mentioning. Its descent vehicle carried out a soft landing and sent to the Earth photos of the lunar surface, where one could discern objects of the size of 1 -2 mm. Thus, the theory of existence of a deep dust layer there, in which allegedly a spacecraft could sink, turned into a myth.

Our exposition displays the first artificial lunar satellite delivered to its orbit by the Luna-10 automatic station (1966). It helped to get data on the chemical composition of the soil by the nature of the surface gamma-radiation. The Luna-16 station delivered its samples (mass of 101 g) to the Earth in September 1970. The first Lunokhod (lunar rover), transported to our natural satellite by the Luna-17 station in November 1970, moved on its surface for 318 days at a maximum speed of 2 km/h and made 210 panoramic photos and over 20,000 relief pic-


See: I. Mitrofanov, "Mastering the Moon", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2006.-Ed.

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tures, and carried out the soil sampling and analysis of its chemical composition.

In 1961-1986, a total of 18 national space vehicles were sent to Venus*. Its atmospheric pressure is almost 100 times higher than on the Earth, the temperature is about 500°C, water is absent, and the gaseous mantle consists mainly of carbon dioxide. During these flights, they studied the atmosphere and cloud layer of the planet, physical conditions on its surface, etc. Thus, the descent vehicle of the Venera-7 station soft-landed on its surface for the first time, and the Venera-8,-9 and -10 stations transmitted its panoramic television images to the Earth. Intake facilities of the Venera-13,-14 stations (their models are displayed in our museum) took samples of the soil and made its chemical analysis. On December 15 and 21, 1984, the Vega-1,-2 stations, similar by design and purpose, were sent to explore the Venus and Halley's comet. The set of scientific hardware for this project was worked out by scientists of Austria, Bulgaria, the GDR, Hungary, Poland, the USSR, France, Czechoslovakia and the FRG.

In 1962-1996, a total of 10 national space vehicles explored the Mars**. The period of its rotation around its axis is 24 hours, around the Sun is 687 days, and carbon dioxide is the main component of the atmosphere. Its relief is characterized by canyons, which emerged as a result of the crust movement, and by several huge extinct volcanos. The program of these flights included comprehensive exploration of the Red Planet, surrounding space and its satellite Phobos, challenging problems of autonomous navigation and control of the movement of automatic stations at a considerable distance from the Earth, the first soft landing on its surface, obtaining of unique data on the radiation rate, temperature, atmospheric pressure, etc. Altogether 60 different national space stations enriched our knowledge of celestial bodies. Many of them are displayed at the exhibition in the original and in the form of models.

Perhaps exploration of the Universe is one of the most international kinds of human activity. The museum displays a technological duplicate of the Intercosmos-1 international artificial satellite of the Earth, launched in


See: O. Korablev, "Another Voyage to Venus", Science in Russia, No. 2, 2006.-Ed.

**See: Yu. Markov, "Destination—Red Planet", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2003.-Ed.

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1969 and a model of its carrier rocket. In 1972-1975, the USSR and USA cooperated in creation of joint docking devices of space vehicles.* Operation of the Mir station on the circumterrestrial orbit became the main achievement of the 1980s. Specialists of 27 states participated in the development of its hardware. The International Space Station is a child of 16 states and became its logical continuation. Our visitors can see models of both space complexes, cosmonauts' suits, documents, photos of joint space crews, etc.

Man grasps information sometimes with difficulty, which is not supported by anything but words of the guide and an exhibited article. Today the museum's activity is to attract visitors to a cognitive process, when they get an opportunity to watch the action and even participate in it. We can be proud of numerous interactive exhibits and training aids, created by enterprises of the national space industry. For example, a full-scale model of the descent vehicle of the Soyuz TMA spacecraft allows its virtual docking with an orbital station, and a flight-dynamic simulator in the form of a cabin of KA-52 helicopter makes it possible to perform take-off and search for cosmonauts, who have landed.

No less interesting is an exhibit of a general service module of the descent vehicle of the Soyuz TMA spacecraft, which you can enter and examine its rooms and work places of crew members. We display also a full-scale model of a base block of the Mir spacecraft. Through its windows one can see the rotating Earth, which creates an emotional and psychological effect of being in its orbit.

Finally, the Flight Control Mini-Center, a miniature Flight Control Center with two large plasma screens and an operator's post, enables visitors on sofas to observe in real time (based on information from the true Flight Control Center) the flight of the International Space Station, listen to talks between the spacecraft crew and the Earth, and to see photo- and video-topics about the work of the crew.

The museum has a rich collection of paintings and drawings. Russian artists got interested in unknown mysteries of the Universe back in the early 20th century, and their interest developed in the middle of the 1920s in the Moscow Amaravella association (Pyotr Fateyev, Vera Pshesetskaya, Alexander Sardan, Boris Smirnov-Rusetsky, etc.). Many works of its members are kept in our stocks. Cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Vladimir Dzhanibekov expressed the beauty of boundless outer space expanses in their paintings. Of no less interest is also a vast collection of posters of 1957-2000 devoted to this subject and a stock of rare books numbering above 4,000 volumes and including, for example, lifetime editions of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Friedrich Zander and Sergei Korolyov.

In short, the exposition of the museum, not incidentally called memorial, reveals all development stages of the space segment, which attracts visitors of all ages to our halls.


See: Yu.  Markov.  "Russia-USA: Space Cooperation", Science in Russia, No. 3, 2008.-Ed.


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