Remembering the Soviet role in the space race

When I was an adolescent in the 1960s, the space race between the USA and the USSR was at full pelt. It was an exciting time with a new achievement almost every few months. But, of course, we knew much more at the time about the background to the American space programme compared to the secrecy of the Soviet effort.

A correction to this imbalance came in 2005 with the television series “Space Race” which was accompanied by a book of the same title which I have reviewed here. Now, at London’s Science Museum, we have a fascinating exhibition titled “Cosmonauts: Birth of The Space Age” which covers Russia’s fascination with space from late tsarist times to the present day. .

I was fortunate enough this week to attend a private showing of the exhibition when we were accompanied round by one of the museum’s staff heavily involved in curating the collection. The amazing exhibits  include:

  • 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 America’s Apollo


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