Since I was a toddler, I always dreamt of being an astronout. It is probably because I was a big fan of a Manga cartoon from Japan, “Sailor Moon”, and thought that by flying to space I would get to meet them… Or! It was just my hidden passion that still remains today. I have always been interested in cosmic things: planets, the solar system, black holes, the big bang theory, and all that jazz. Unfortunately, living in Indonesia means that I need to bury it deeply as we don’t have enough resources or facilities related to the cosmos, space, and so on.
When I moved to Russia, I felt that the universe helped me to rebuild my scattered-in-pieces dream. Everybody knows that, besides the USA, Russia has always been the most ambitious about space. Since The Cold War, they have both been competing in all aspects of life, and one of the biggest, hottest and most popular themes at the time was journeying to space.
Yeah, I feel that I am in the right place finally. Of course, it doesn’t mean that I applied to be a cosmonaut (Russian astronout). I know that it is undoubtedly impossible and that I am too old to be trained; plus, I realized that the older I get, the worse I am at understanding technical things. But at least they have a handful of interesting museums – space museums, scattered around the capital! They are waiting to be explored.
Space and Engineering Pavilion at VDNKh
As I mentioned in my previous post, VDNKh is not only about the park – they have lots of things on display, and one of them is the Space and Engineering Pavilion. The museum, which was opened to the public on April 13th this year (I think), provides some real samples and miniature models of the technology used by the Russians or the International Space Station in space.
Around the building, you will find samples of Russian masterpieces, such as a rocket – Vostok (East), a fighter plane, a helicopter, and a passenger jet (Yak-42). Those displays are my favorite ones because I love how the Russians design their fighter aircraft (my favorite is the Mig), while at the same time I feel that my dream has finally come true – seeing a rocket (not actual size, admittedly, but it’s big enough) with my very own eyes.
The entrance fee is 500 rubles. This is quite expensive but it is worth it. To avoid the queue, you can buy your tickets online here: https://cosmos.vdnh.ru/ (the site is only available in Russian).
The museum is almost like an open space, divided into two floors with a big hall that displays a huge globe.
As I am not a cosmonaut, I will just explain some of the displays briefly.
Picture 1: a capsule, used by cosmonauts to come back to Mother Earth. It burnt as it passed through the atmosphere. Thank God, If I have had been one of the cosmonauts who needed to fly back to earth, the capsule would definitely have been very messy because of all the vomit...
Picture 2: Nozzle (the main engine) – the spaceships use the nozzle to expel hot exhaust gas to produce thrust. Simply speaking, this part is something that you will see when a space shuttle touches down.
Picture 3: Space suit from the time of the USSR.
Picture 4: Space food. The food must meet the requirement of not only the tasting good (quite good I bet), but also the nutrition for individuals working in space. The menu itself varies, depending on the country – For USSR cosmonauts, they packed soup (borscht, kharcho, even pancake!).
Picture 5: Medical equipment in space.
Picture 6: A display of a space station on the ceiling of the museum. Note: Almaz was a highly secret Soviet military space program that began in the early ’60s (ow..ow..ow...)
Picture 7: A map of a cosmodrome in Russia (a launching site for spacecraft). They are located in Plesetsk, Kapustin, Baikonur (the most famous one), Yasniy, and Vostochniy.
Picture 8: Interactive game. As a technician in space, you need to set an adequate fuel mixture, repair the nozzle, etc. It isn't a fun game because we need to think much here (for me).
Picture 9: Interactive room that displays space with video.
Picture 10: A simulation area for launching the spacecraft. What you need to do is choose a seat as one of the launcher team, choose your rocket, and wait for the countdown.
Picture 11: Satellite with solar panel. It might be used for communication, earth observation, or military needs (even for spying on somebody – oops).
Besides all the displays, you can also get some more information about who invented the space station, the history behind it, and so on the descriptions available almost everywhere in the museum.
Is it good for kids?
Yes it is. But probably not for under 5 years old, I think. For adults who are crazy about space, this place is perfect to satisfy your curiosity.
How do I get there?
As it is still in the complex of VDNKh, you can read my previous post: http://www.sightseersdiary.com/blog/vdnkh