Rockets And Robots

The point of our today's destination is the past. Of course I'm not talking about moving in time but instead about moving in space, and 'space' has a double meaning here. Today we were going to visit VDNKh to take a look at a three-stage 'Vostok' rocket carrier which is the same rocket as the one used by Gagarin for his—and the entire world's—first flight into space.

Seeing 'Vostok' for me was the same as seeing a, say, real Cro-Magnon for a human. I was particularly touched by the recently renewed colouring which is almost identical to mine, and that's why I felt like I wanted to call her an elder sister and not a great-grandmother after all. Yet one thing cast gloom over our encounter—and it was the fact that this rocket is just a mockup.

The mockup of the 'Vostok' (lit. 'East') was produced in Samara Rocket-Space Center and mounted on the Industrial Square of VDNKh in 1967 to commemorate 50 years since October Revolution (and not in 1969). The rocket has been displayed both vertically and horizontally since that time; the mockup has been reconstructed in 2010, and today 'Vostok' is standing upright again. The height of a real rocket is almost 40 meters (a 14-storey building or 256 of my heights), the weight is almost 290 tons (only 1.5% of it is payload). The mockup, on the other hand, is 11 times lighter and weighs some 25 tons.

If you do want to see a real 'Vostok' (and you are sure you can see the difference), then you should visit Kaluga where a 'spare' Gagarin's rocket is being displayed since 1973; that rocket never made it to space and toured the world instead. But keep in mind that in the beginning of June 2013 the rocket was put down for a reconstruction (worth of 5 million roubles), so you may want to postpone your visit to Kaluga till September or October.

— Mizuki. 16/07/2013. VDNKh (All-Russia Exhibition Centre), Moscow.


01 itterashai onee-sama
02 shinki and vostok
03 shinki and vostok
04 vostok rocket and robots
05 rocket and robots
06 rocket and robots
07 rocket and robots
08 rocket and robots
09 vostok carrier rocket
10 rocket raiser
11 rocket engine nozzles
12 three stages of vostok carrier rocket


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