Museum Blog

Planes Galore

Posted 10/19/2012 12:10 AM by Steven Lee | Comments

Curator of planetary science Steve Lee has just embarked on a rare adventure to enter the once highly classified world of Russian space travel as a privileged guest. He and and a small group of Museum staff and guests will explore Star City, outside of Moscow, the premier training facility for cosmonauts and foreign astronauts heading for manned space flights. Then, they'll journey to the arid steppe of Kazakhstan and the remote desert launch site of Baikonur Cosmodrome. Here, they'll witness the manned launch of the Soyuz spacecraft on its way to relieve the crew of the International Space Station, and will have unparalleled access to VIP viewing areas and briefing sessions. 

This morning, we made the trek through another massive traffic jam (about 5 hrs in stop-and-go, round trip) to tour the Monino Russian Federation Air Force Museum on the outskirts of Moscow.  For airplane geeks, this is a heavenly place. They had planes ranging from WWI-era biplanes to the current generation supersonic fighters.  Our guide had been a fighter-bomber pilot in the "Great Patriotic War" (WWII), and was a wealth of information on the Russian perspective on WWII; he was also a great sport ("I wait - you look and shoot picture!" ). Our charter flight to Baikonour Cosmodrome leaves early Saturday, so we're departing the hotel at 5:30 am to allow lots of time for traffic. More from Kazakhstan later tomorrow!


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