Lonely Planet Writer

Moscow exhibition celebrates Russia’s space exploration programme

The All-Russia Exhibition Centre (aka the VDNKh) in Moscow is hosting the ‘Space: the Birth of a New Era’ exhibition in its Pavilion No 1 until 10 January 2017.

Moscow's All-Russia Exhibition Centre aka the VDNKh.
Moscow’s All-Russia Exhibition Centre aka the VDNKh. Image by Sergey Norin / CC BY 2.0

The exhibition covers the history of space exploration, celebrates Russia’s space pioneers and looks at the future roll of the space programme. It’s part of the same project as the ‘Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age’ exhibition held in London’s Science Museum in 2015 thanks to the collaboration between Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency), Rosizo (Russian State Museum and Exhibition Centre) and the United Rocket and Space Corporation.

The Moscow exhibition features even more exhibits, some of them from private collections and never shown to the public before. On display are pieces of equipment, space suits, interplanetary landers and Soviet-era posters celebrating Russian cosmonauts. Visitors can also see historic documents including the drawings of Soviet rocket scientist and astronautics pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and lead Soviet rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev, as well as Galina Balashova’s designs for the Soviet Union’s rockets, space shuttles and orbital laboratories. The highlights are probably the Vostok 6 (the spacecraft which carried the first woman, Valentina Tereshkova, into space in 1963), and the Lunokhod 3, the spacecraft built for a Moon landing.

Mir space vehicle.
Mir space vehicle. Image by Pavel Rebrov / CC BY 2.0

The VDNKh exhibition is held in the year when Russia is celebrating the 55th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight into space. The general director of the VDNKh, Ekaterina Pronicheva, told The Moscow Times that the exhibition is the first step in creating a new attraction in Moscow, as in the next few years the VDNKh will open a Space and Aviation Centre, dedicated to presenting the dream of Russian space exploration to the world. Russia’s space programme has impressive achievements: it was the first country to send a satellite into orbit and land a spacecraft on another planet, and the first country to send an animal and then a human being into space, while a Russian astronaut was the first person to make a spacewalk.