Amazing photos of the Soviet Union’s space program that you have not seen yet

Recently, high-quality photographs from the American space program Apollo have become available to the public – we have shown the best images in this material. In these photos, famous astronauts take their first steps on the surface of the moon, sleep in a broken spacecraft, go into space and perform many other feats. While they were doing all this, the Soviet Union had its own space program in full swing. Within its framework, Belka and Strelka and the most famous cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made their legendary flights, dozens of research vehicles went into space and many other important events took place. You’ve probably already seen a lot of pictures from that time, so we tried to find the pictures that flicker the least on the Internet. Let’s dive into the history of Soviet cosmonautics, shall we?

The Soviet space program was amazing. Image shows “Salyut-7”

Brief history of cosmonautics in the Soviet Union

Soviet scientists and cosmonauts made a huge contribution to science. It was thanks to their work that airplanes, animals and finally humans were first launched into outer space.

The history of Soviet cosmonautics begins in 1921, with the construction of the Leningrad Gas Dynamics Laboratory (GDL). At first, behind its walls, the development of rocket shells on smokeless powder, as well as liquid rocket engines, was carried out. In 1933, she became part of the Jet Research Institute, within whose walls the legendary Katyusha was developed. But within the framework of this article, we are interested in another product of the institute, the Earth’s first artificial satellite – the Sputnik-1 apparatus.

You’ve probably already seen this photo of Sputnik-1. What about rare images?

Maybe we will start looking at pictures from this moment.

Photos of Earth’s very first satellite

The design of Sputnik-1 was as simple as possible. In reality, the device was a metal ball with four antennas. Only one radio transmitter was inside the casing, as the main goal of Soviet scientists was to control the connection between the spacecraft and the Earth. The image below shows the layout of the first Soviet satellite, which was shown to the public in 1997.

Model of “Sputnik-1”

To launch the device into space on October 4, 1957, the Sputnik rocket was used. The launch site was the Tyura-Tam test site, which was later transformed into a full-fledged Baikonur cosmodrome. Here is a picture from the launch.

The moment of the launch of “Sputnik-1”

According to open sources, Sputnik 1 was visible in the night sky as a tiny dot. In the picture below, people with binoculars see one of the most important moments in Soviet cosmonautics.

Soviet people look at the first artificial Earth satellite

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Pictures of the first animals in space

In November 1957, the satellite Sputnik-2 was launched. It was the first launch of a living creature into space in human history – the dog Laika. Unfortunately, she died after 5-7 hours due to overheating.

The astronaut dog Laika

In 1960, the legendary Belka and Strelka were sent into space. Their flight lasted 25 hours and this time there were no casualties – these cuties became the first animals to orbit space and return to Earth.

Squirrel and arrow in the hands of pianist Van Cliburn

In 1966, Veterok and Ugolyok flew inside the Kosmos-110 satellite. They spent 22 days in space – at that time it was a record for the stay of living beings outside the Earth. After that, they safely returned to earth and even gave birth to healthy offspring. Ugolyok’s fate is unknown, and Veterok only died in old age, 12 years after the flight.

Wind and coal

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Photos of Soviet cosmonauts

The date of April 12, 1961 is especially important – on this day Yuri Gagarin achieved his main feat, becoming the first man in space. He took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and circled the entire globe. Flight time was 106 minutes. Photos with a radiant smile of Gagarin were seen by everyone. In the picture below, he means business – the picture was taken a few hours after landing.

Yuri Gagarin a few hours after returning from space

The German Titov is the second man in space. He made a flight inside the Vostok-2 spacecraft on August 6, 1961 and stayed in space for more than a day. It was he who first happened to sleep in zero gravity and perform physical exercises in space.

German Titov during training before the flight

The first person in the world to go into space was the Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov. In March 1965, together with cosmonaut Pavel Belyaev, he flew out of the Earth in the Voskhod-2 spacecraft. After the spacewalk, he had to show all his courage, because his space suit swelled up and he could only return to the ship after several attempts.

Alexei Leonov in spacesuit “Berkut” goes into space

In 1975 it was a “handshake in space”. As part of the experimental flight, the Soviet Soyuz-19 spacecraft docked with the American Apollo. The mission participants opened the hatches of the attached spacecraft, and Alexei Leonov, already mentioned above, shook hands with astronaut Thomas Stafford.

The ship’s captains shake hands

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Photos of Soviet spacecraft

In 1970, Soviet scientists sent Lunokhod-1 into space. He successfully landed on the lunar surface and worked there until September 1971.

“Lunokhod-1” in color

In February 1971, the world’s first orbital station for a flight around the Earth, the legendary Salyut-1, was sent into space. The picture below shows how big he was compared to a human.

Preparing Salyut-1 for flight

Finally, in 1986, the world’s first multi-module station “Mir” was launched. In the picture below, the Soyuz spacecraft is trying to dock with it.

Soyuz spacecraft and Mir station

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