Online Exhibitions

Early Russian Space Exploration

With rare drawings, documents, photographs, ephemeral objects and memorabilia donated to the Archive by Andy Thomas, we were able to create a two-case pop-up exhibition related to early Russian Space Exploration.

  Objects included domestic items such as musical cigarette cases, ashtrays, desk thermometers, ornamental lamps and tea glass holders which aid in our understanding of the importance of space exploration in Russian Soviet culture in the 20th century and how this is remembered.

Case 2

Display Case – Early Space Exploration

Case 1

Display Case – Domestic Items

Case 2 (2)

Display Case – Domestic Items

Below we have provided some details and more information on what was on display.

Sputnik Cigarette Case, c.1960

Sputnik Cigarette Case, c.1960. Celebrating the first Sputnik (Satellite). The design is of a Russian Soviet Rocket complete with Sickle and Hammer. Sputnik orbits in the background. The inscription reads: ” Soviet Satellites of Earth”.

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Sputnik 3 Cigarette Case, c.1958. Made to commemorate the third Sputnik satellite launch, “Спутник-3” (Sputnik-3). Engraved is the date 15th May 1958.

 

 

 

 

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IMG_2029 Russian Soviet Musical Cigarette Box, c.1968. In the form of three books that commemorate Space exploration achievements. When the cigarette case opens, a melody of the Soviet Song “How Large Is My Native Country” begins playing, which is followed by  “beep-beep-beep”, these were the first signals transmitted back to Earth by Sputnik. The inscriptions from left to right read: “The first satellite of the Earth – USSR, October 1957“, “The first Man in Space – USSR, April 1961“, “The first satellite of the Moon, USSR, April 1966“.

 

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Rocket shaped Diascope c.1960’s. Inside each rocket shaped diascope there is a small portrait of a cosmonaut in military uniform.

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Diascopes in their box, complete with the names of the Cosmonauts.

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Diascopes are inscribed with each of the first six Vostok rockets that left the atmosphere.

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Peering into the the Diascope we see Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fountain Pen – c.1959. Dedicated to the launch of the first Russian Soviet Moon station, Luna 2.

 

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Fountain Pen – c.1959. Luna 2 reached the Moon’s surface 14th September 1959.

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Luna 2 was the first human-made object to reach another space body. Despite shattering on impact, the mission was a major success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From left, Laika Stamp, c.1957, Sputnik Stamp c.1957. Venera Venus Space Probes Stamp, c.1977, commemorating Venera-1 launch date February 12th 1961 and the programmes success of the first human made object to impact another planets surface with Venera-3, on March 1st 1966.

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Russian Soviet Stamps, c.1950-70.

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Russian Soviet Stamps, c.1950-70.

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Russian Soviet Stamps, c.1950-70.

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stamps again035 Russian Soviet Stamps, c.1950-70.

 

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Epoch Night Lamp. c.1979 – The popular Russian Soviet lamp known as “Epoch”, dedicated to the world’s first flight into space.

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Epoch Night Lamp turned on, c.1970’s. the lamp was most likely made in the famous Russian factory Yuzhmash in the 1970’s who were also the producer of strategic missiles.


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Around the base are various images of Russian Soviet history from 1917. Images include The Great October Revolution 1917 (Red October/Bolshevik Revolution), Lenin, Yuri Gagarin and possibly WW2 victory.

 

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Russian Soviet Space Rocket Vostok 1 Porcelain Ashtray. c.1961.

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Russian Soviet Space Rocket Vostok 1 Porcelain Ashtray. c.1961.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Podstakannik, c.1959/60 –  lit.trans “under the glass”. These Tea Glass Holders have intricate design features stylized images depicting symbols of the USSR and Soviet Space Programs.

 

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Podstakannik, Tea Glass Holders, c.1958/59 – depicting Sputnik 1

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Podstakannik, c.1959/60. Depicting the Earth with the Kremlin surrounded by a night sky full of stars, a sputnik orbits the Earth along with two space craft, whilst two more space craft appear to travel toward the moon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vostok Statuette, c.1970’s

Vostok Statuette, c.1970’s

 

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Russian Soviet Child’s Scrapbook, c.1960’s.

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Press cuttings of first ever spaceflight by a human, Yuri Gagarin, c.1961. Created by an unknown Russian Soviet child. During this time it was a common exercise at school, to make a scrap book of major events in Russian Soviet history.

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Star City Training Facility, 20 Year Celebration Medal, c.1980

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Star City Training Facility 20 Year Celebration Medal, c.1980. The Cosmonaut training facility that is named after Yuri Gagarin.

Commemorative Coin of Yuri Gagarin, c.1960’sCommemorative Coin of Yuri Gagarin, c.1960’s

 

ВОКРУГ СВЕТА Magazine No.31, c.1930

ВОКРУГ СВЕТА Magazine No.31, c.1930

ВОКРУГ СВЕТА Magazine No.31, Konstantine Tsiolkovsy Interview c.1930

ВОКРУГ СВЕТА Magazine No.31, Konstantine Tsiolkovsy Interview, c.1930. This magazine was the Russian Soviet equivalent to the National Geographic.

 

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Konstantine Tsiolkovsky Monument Statuette, c.1969. Representation after the monument in Kaluga city

Kontantine Tsiolkovsky Monument Statuette, detail, c.1969

Kontantine Tsiolkovsky Monument Statuette, detail, c.1969

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Yuri Gagarin Bust c.1968 made after death– First man to journey into space and orbit the Earth on 12th April 1961 in the Vostok 1 spacecraft.

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Yuri Gagarin Bust c.1968

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentina Tereshkova Thermometer, c.1963. This desk thermometer depicts the first woman and civilian in space when she orbited the Earth 48 times in the Vostok 6 on 16th June 1963.

Valentina Tereshkova Thermometer, c.1963. This desk thermometer depicts the first woman and civilian in space when she orbited the Earth 48 times in the Vostok 6 on 16th June 1963.

 

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Lunokhod (“Moon Walker”), c.1970’s. The unmanned lunar rover landed on the Moon by the Soviet Union as part of its Lunokhod program in November 1970.

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Lunokhod (“Moon Walker”), c.1970’s. Lunokhod was the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commemorative Tsiolkovsky Medal, c.1970’s

Commemorative Tsiolkovsky Medal, c.1970’s.

The collection we now hold boasts early 20th century drawings by Konstantine Tsiolkovsky.

In the late 19th century, Konstantine Tsiolkovsky explored ideas of heavier-than-air flying machines. Tsiolkovsky’s ideas were little known outside Imperial Russia, the engineering feat lagged until other scientists independently made the same calculations decades later. Only later in his life was he honoured for his ground-breaking work.

In 1903 he published “The Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices”, arguably the first academic treatise on rocketry.

He published over 500 works on space travel and related topics. Among these are designs for rockets with steering thrusters, space stations, airlocks for exiting a spaceship and man-made ecosystems to provide food and oxygen for space colonies. On display here are some of his original drawings.

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Konstantine Tsiolkovsky Original Drawing of a Reactive Engine, c.1930’s.

KonstantineTsiolkovsky Drawing, c.1930’s. The drawing depicts a space walk and the designs for an airlock contraption for the safe exit into the vacuum of space.

Konstantine Tsiolkovsky Drawing, c.1930’s. The drawing depicts a space walk and the designs for an airlock contraption for the safe exit from a space craft into the vacuum of space.

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Konstantine Tsiolkovsky Drawing, c.1930’s. The image depicts a space walk with tethering device.