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Sputnik No. 1 returns to VDNKh

Sputnik No. 1 returns to VDNKh

A model of the Earth’s first artificial satellite adorns the Space Pavilion at VDNKh again. It is a full-size replica of the first aircraft that started the space era. The model will be on display at the new Space and Aviation Centre now in the making.

A model of the world’s first artificial satellite has been installed at the Space Pavilion (No. 34) at VDNKh. It is a glittering metal ball with aerials pointing out like rays. The model of Sputnik No. 1, or Elementary Satellite – 1, is an exact replica of the original satellite that was launched into orbit from the Tyuratam launch site, later known as Baikonur Space Launch Complex, on 4 October 1957. It was that satellite that gave a start to space exploration. A replica of the first satellite appeared at VDNKh at the Karelia Pavilion (No. 67) the same year. The replica was moved to the Space Pavilion in 1967 and more than 20 years later, when the pavilion was adapted for trade, the famous sphere with rays was lost.

“It was decided to restore the replica of the first artificial Earth satellite and return it to VDNKh while rebuilding the displays of the Space and Aviation Centre, the largest aerospace museum in the country, to be located at the Space Pavilion. The new replica is made of an aluminium-magnesium alloy in Samara. It is 58 centimetres in diametre and weighs over 83 kilogrammes,” the VDNKh press-service reports.

The replica of the first artificial satellite will be displayed at the beginning of the exhibition. In addition to the first artificial satellite, the central area of the exhibition will also feature the Almaz reusable re-entry vehicle, the Soyuz and Voskhod spaceships, the Mir orbital station, the International Space Station and  other large items. Over 20,000 visitors will be able to come to the exhibition every day. 

The display will feature over 120 unique samples of air and space crafts never displayed before; items from military-industrial complex plants; over 2,000 rare archival documents, and photos and video materials. Over 50 items were specially made for the centre.

At the end of 2017, a gilded star-shaped chandelier 4.2 metres in diametre was hung under the dome of the Space Pavilion. The design is based on archival drawings of the star that used to stand above the Trinity Tower in the Kremlin Wall in 1935-1937.  The original Kremlin star served as a chandelier in the pavilion between 1954 and 1974 but then was dismantled and lost. The area under the dome will also display game simulators, the Monolith exhibition module and the Space Sphere, a virtual reality room looking like a huge sphere from outside. Visitors will be able to watch a rocket launch or see the Earth from space in that room.