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The Science Museum gets to grips with the US's great rival in the space race with a major new exhibition that brings back to life Russia's remarkable dream and realisation of space travel. It is the most significant exhibition of artefacts from space ever shown in the UK.
More than 150 objects from small rockets to sections of large spacecrafts have come from private and military collection - some not ever seen by Russians. It took a whole week to bring them by road and sea.
Russia - or rather the Soviet Union, sent the first artificial satellite (Sputnik), the first man (Yuri Gagarin) and the first woman (Valentina Tereshkova) in space, between 1957 and 1963, well before the US landed on the moon.
The show offers an opportunity to learn more about those very first space pioneers, the remarkable inventions that facilitated their accomplishments and the extraordinary conditions they faced to achieve their nation's dream.
Don't miss the original Voskhod 1 (the first crewed spacecraft) and the LK-3 Lunar Lander (a three ton single cosmonaut craft built in secret to compete with the Apollo spacecraft.) We were particularly moved by the tiny Vostok 6 capsule flown by Valentina Tereshkova. Our 14 years old reviewer marvelled at the different cosmonauts outfits, and was delighted by the Mir space station fridge and dinning table (look out for Cosmonaut Krikalev's engraved spoon which he left and found intact on his return to the station couple of years later).
Behind the cold war fierce competition between two superpowers, the success of the Soviet space enterprise was mainly the result of driving force of few men like designer Sergei Korolev. His untimely death and ineffective organisation brought the whole enterprise to an end.
As a brilliant exposé of scientific, political and cultural progress, Cosmonauts deserves a place in your museum calendar this autumn. We strongly recommend for any girls and boys who have ever dreamt to get closer to the stars.
Recommended for ages 11+
|What||REVIEW: Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age, Science Museum|
|Where||Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
18 Sep 15 – 13 Mar 16, 10am - 6pm daily, open till 10pm Fridays
|Price||£14 (concessions available)|
|Website||Click here to book tickets|