Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics or Space Museum (Музей космонавтики) is a museum dedicated to space exploration and technology. It is also known as Memorial Museum of Astronautics. The museum is located inside of a building at the base of the monument called – “the Monument to the Conquerors of Space.” This monument is of a rocket blasting off with a large smoke plume behind it. The monument is visible for quite a distance from the museum. This is the only museum in Moscow that collects and stores objects connected to the history of space exploration. One of the prime destinations for students and tourists, it receives nearly 300,000 visitors in a year.
On 4th October, 1957, the world’s first satellite, Sputnik I was sent into space from the Soviet Union. To mark this historic occasion a competition was announced to design a monument in recognition of this remarkable feat. Five years later, the Monument to the Conquerors of Space was erected at Prospekt Mira as a mark of the achievements in the field of space exploration of the Soviet people. Architects Michail Barsh and Andrey Kolchin jointly designed the magnificent structure. On 28th September, 1967, Soviet government initiated the process of constructing the Museum of Cosmonautics at the foot of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space. It was on the 10th of April, 1981, when the Memorial Museum was opened to the public to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the first manned space flight.
The museum has a wide variety of Russian and Soviet exhibits and models related to space. These exhibits provide a detailed account about the history of first flights, explorations and the advancement in technology over the years in the field of space. Some notable exhibits include the space capsule used by Yuri Gagarin who was the first person to go in outer space. Other exhibits include, Soviet moon rover- Lunokhod, crew manual from Apollo-Soyuz test Project (1974) and Soviet Krechet space suit. It has a collection of nearly 85,000 items.
Museum Affiliate – The Academician Sergei Korolev’s Memorial House
A few meters away from the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics, is where the Memorial House of Sergei Korolev is located. The memorial house is also a part of the museum. The house was given to S.P. Korolev in 1959 while he was working to build world’s first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik. All the items during Korolev’s time has been preserved in this house. Around 19,000 items are stored in the Memorial house which include photographs, furniture, household items and documents and personal belongings of Sergei Korolev.
Renovation started in 2006 and was completed by 2009. The museum was reopened in 2009 on Cosmonautics Day, 12th April. New sections related to the space programs from all across the world – USA, China, Europe and International Space Station were added. The size of the museum’s collection was tripled after the renovation. Modern technology was used to include new features like interactive exhibits at the museum.
Misc Important Facts
- The museum offers guided tours in English. It will cost you 3000 rubles to book a guided tour for a group of up to 10 people. You will need to schedule an English guided tour at least two weeks ahead of your visit.
- There is a Museum Cafe near the Memorial Apollo-Soyuz bench.
- Museum of Cosmonautics also has a conference room and a movie hall . The conference room has a seating capacity of 130 and the movie hall. The movie hall is designed in the shape of a futuristic spaceship.
- Cosmonauts Alley, connects the museum and monument to the VDNKh subway station.
A full virtual tour of the museum is available and can be watched online at the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics website. (http://www.kosmo-museum.ru/visit?locale=en)
If you want to see real Russian Cosmonauts and American Astronauts as they train for space consider a tour at Star City.