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Beautiful Photography Of Russia's Once Secretive Cosmonaut Camps

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Tom Hale

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Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

3110 Beautiful Photography Of Russia's Once Secretive Cosmonaut Camps
Maria Gruzdeva

Amidst the backdrop of the Cold War and the space race, the training facilities for Russia’s cosmonauts were once shrouded in mystery. In a project called Direction - Space!, London-based Russian photographer Maria Gruzdeva takes an inside look at the once secretive history of the Russian space program.

Her photographs document the two sites where the soul of Russian space exploration was born and continues to fly: Baikonur and Star City. Baikonur is the space center in Kazakhstan that was the launch site of Sputnik 1, the world's first orbital spaceflight of any sort, and where Yuri Gagarin set off to be the first man in space. Star City is home to the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. Along with zero-gravity simulators and full-size mock-up spacecraft, the site is adorned with murals, statues, homages to bygone cosmonauts and the office of the first star child, Yuri Gagarin. 

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The facilities are still up and running, even though Russia’s space exploration program has changed a lot since the Soviet days. Americans and Russians now work side-by-side on the International Space Station and collaborate on projects together.

However, the isolation of these areas has left them almost unchanged since the Soviet-era 1960s. Gruzdeva's photography not only takes a closer look at the technology and retro aesthetics of these facilities, but also the lives of the cosmonauts, scientists, engineers and workers who still live and work there. It’s a powerful combination of science, history and humanity.

Image credit: Maria Gruzdeva

Image credit: Maria Gruzdeva

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Image credit: Maria Gruzdeva

Image credit: Maria Gruzdeva

You can check out more of the photographs from the project on Maria's website here. All the photographs are also available in a book, which you can purchase here.


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spaceSpace and Physics
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  • cosmonaut,

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