This exhibition uncovered the dramatic story of how Russia turned the dream of space travel into a reality and became the first nation to explore space.
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.
Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age revealed 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 capsule used on the first mission to carry more than one crew member
- 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.
The exhibition explored the historical, cultural and spiritual context of Russian space travel, shaped by the turbulent early decades of the 20th century. It also displayed poignant testimonies and memorabilia belonging to some of the biggest names in spaceflight, revealing the deeply personal stories of the pioneers who kick-started the space age.
Take a look at the Google Cultural Institute's online record of the exhibition.