We use cookies on our website. Find out about our cookie policy here.Continue

Open seven days a week, 10.00-18.00. Entry to the Museum is free.

Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age

Opens 18 September 2015
Exhibition will be open until 22.00 every Friday

In 1957 Russia launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik, into space and just four years later sent the first ever human – Yuri Gagarin. Discover the dramatic story of how Russia turned the dream of space travel into a reality and became the first nation to explore space in this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition.

Cosmonauts will reveal the most significant collection of Russian spacecraft and artefacts ever to be shown in the UK, including:

  • Vostok 6: the capsule flown by Valentina Tereshkova, the first ever woman in space
  • Voskhod 1: the first crewed spacecraft
  • LK-3 Lunar Lander: a single cosmonaut craft built to compete with Apollo
  • a collection of gadgets that cosmonauts – and pioneering space dogs – need to live in space, including a shower, toilet, medical instruments and survival kits for crash landings. 

Explore the historical, cultural and spiritual context of Russian space travel, shaped especially by the turbulent early decades of the twentieth century. See poignant testimonies and memorabilia belonging to some of the biggest names in spaceflight and discover the deeply personal stories of the pioneers who kick-started the space age.

Alexei Leonov and the Cosmonauts exhibition

Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first human to walk in space, tells his story as Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age is announced at the Science Museum.

Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age

Discover the story of Russian space travel in this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition
Price: £14 (concessions available)

Image credits:

  1. Cosmonauts exhibition banner © Science Museum
  2. Yuri Gagarin before the first space flight, April 12 1961, © RIA Novosti
  3. Laika in the hermetic cabin before settling in the satellite © BFI National Archive
  4. Valentina Tereshkova's Vostok 6 descent module, 1963 © The open joint-stock company 'Rocket and Space Corporation Energia after S P Korolev' / Photo: State Museum and Exhibition Ventre ROSIZO
  5. Boris Staris, 'The fairy tale became truth', 1961. Published by The Young Guard (Molodaya Gvardia) Photo: Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics © Unknown
  6. Russian dolls Photo: The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics 

Supported by

BP logo

Key Project Partners:

Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
State Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSIZO
Federal Space Agency Roscosmos
United Rocket and Space Corporation
British Council

With additional support from:

The Blavatnik Family Foundation