Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden
huskyteer

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KocMoc Haw!

Sputnik samovarOn Friday evening I met my friend Myk for the Cosmonauts exhibition at the Science Museum.

This took us from speculative sketches (rockets equipped with a bookcase, dining-table and bathtub), through Sputnik, Laika, Vostok and Soyuz to the collapse of the Soviet Union and into the present.

Much of the equipment had a touch of sci-fi about it: clunky but complex early designs from the cover of a pulp paperback, lunar landers straight out of a B-movie. It is still hard to believe, even at this remove, that we have put people in space; at the time of Yuri Gagarin's ascent, it must have been absolutely astounding. No wonder the Russians went around saying "Space is ours!" to each other. космос наш!

There was footage of dogs looking bewildered yet eager as they were stuffed into space capsules (one panel described them as 'brave space dogs', which is pushing it a bit; 'dogs who didn't recognise trouble when they saw it' might be nearer the mark), including a charming clip of a dog being released from the box in which he's just parachuted back down to Earth, and going wild with joy.

Jet Age ephemera is very much my thing, so I especially enjoyed items like the Sputnik-themed samovar. Myk and I agreed that this was our favourite propaganda poster:

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