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Star City - Russia's Space Capital

27. October 2009 by Daniel 0 Comments

It was once the place where Yuri Gargarin rocketed into the sky to become the first man to orbit the earth. Today, it is where countless astronauts and cosmonauts prepare for space travel inside mockups of the International Space Station.


It is Star City, a community of space researchers hidden in the woods northeast of Moscow. And despite its status as Russia’s home base during the historic space race and the multitude of advanced aeronautic research still conducted there, few people have ever had the chance to visit the famed town.


Even in Russia’s post-Soviet era, much of what occurs in Star City is kept top-secret. Though a privileged few inhabitants, who either work in the space industry or are related to someone who does, live in a regular community complete with homes, shops and all other necessary amenities. They are kept separate, however, from the outside world.


The space training facility is a must-stop for all would-be space travelers, both those from Russia as well as Americans and others. The facilities include a water pool and various aircraft designed to simulate weightlessness, two centrifuges to imitate the G-forces experienced during rocket liftoff, and mockups of all major Russian spacecraft. All space instruments used by the trainees include buttons and screens with messages written in Russian, which is considered to be the international space language.


View the Star City photo gallery from the BBC.