Day Out: Cosmonauts

Friday 26 February 2016 by

Cosmonauts, Birth of the Space Age, Science Museum, London

There’s a certain amount of fascination with the stars that has continued for a millennia. From when stories were told about the gods that made them, to the moment that man flew among them. The Cosmonauts exhibition at the Science Museum shows the race for space travel during the 20th Century, from the perspective of those who won it – the Russians.

In 1957, the world’s first satellite was launched – Sputnik. And four years after that, Russia sent their first human: Yuri Gagarin, who became an instant superstar. The exhibition displays some of the most famous and significant artefacts from the space race, in the UK for the first time. Particular favourites of mine were the Vostok 6, the capsule flown by Valentina Tereshkova – the first woman in space – and the varying suits that were required for every aspect of space travel.

Discover the “brave” dogs that were sent in to space ahead of people, and what kind of food you get to eat (lots of tubes of gunge it seems). I also absolutely adored the propaganda; the posters are a delight, and it’s so interesting to read about the techniques and stories the Russians and Americans employed during the space race.

You can also read about some of the heroes of the space age, from Gagarin to Vladmir Karamov, and Laika the dog that was launched in to space ahead of human travel. Their stories range from the fantastic to tragic. It’s worth spending time at the beginning with the sketches from the early days, and check out the literature that abounded at the time. As for the posters, they are often tucked out of the way, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.

A trip to the Science Museum is always worth a visit, but the Cosmonauts is especially fun if you’re interested in space travel – or even 20th Century politics!

Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age is on until 13th March 2016

Tickets are £14, including donation

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