Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics, Kaluga, Russia

The Konstantin E Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics is the first museum in the world dedicated to the history of space exploration It was opened on 3 October 1967 in Kaluga, and is named after Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a school master and rocket science pioneer who lived most of his life in this city The driving force behind the creation of the museum was Sergei Korolyov, chief designer of RKK Energiya The building was designed by Boris Barkhin, Evgeny Kireev, Nataliya Orlova, Valentin Strogy and Kirill Fomin, and the cornerstone was laid by Yuri Gagarin on 13 June 1961 The museum has over 100,000 visitors per year and has 127 employees, of whom 43 are curators

The State Museum of the history of cosmonautics named by KE Tsiolkovsky, the first in the world and the largest in Russia, was established with the personal assistance of SP Korolev and JuA Gagarin and was opened in 1967 Museum of cosmonautics is a scientific research and technical centre, co-ordinating the work of museums of cosmonautics all over the country In 1979 it was given a status of scientific research institution, and in 1993 it was enlisted among cultural and educational institution of special social significance

The exposition of the museum consists of two parts The first part is dedicated to the ideas and research of Tsiolkovsky, and shows a model of the rocket designed by Tsiolkovsky as well as copies of his scientific work The second part contains mock-ups of space craft like Sputnik 1 and samples of moon dust Just outside the museum is a rocket park, which contains amongst others a R-7 rocket

In the outskirts of Kaluga is the wooden house in which Tsiolkovsky lived In 1936, one year after his death, this house was turned into a memorial house museum and is now part of the museum organization

June 13, 1961 Yu. A. Gagarin laid the first stone in the foundation of the building of the future museum. The museum was opened to visitors in 1967. Architects – BG Barkhin, EI Kireev, NG Orlova, VA Strogiy, KD Fomin. Mosaic “Conquerors of Space” in the lobby of the museum was created by A. Vasnetsov from smalt and natural stone.

In 1960, the museum was determined by the scientific and methodological center to coordinate the activities of the USSR museums of space profile, and in 1979 received the status of a research institution. In 1993, the State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics named after K. Tsiolkovsky was assigned to the largest cultural and educational institutions of special social importance.

Since June 21, 1973 in the territory of the Kaluga Museum of Astronautics, a genuine copy of the Vostok missile and space complex, which was in reserve during the launch of Gagarin’s East-1, has been exhibited.

The museum’s expositions reveal the history of aeronautics, aviation, rocket and space technology. The scientific legacy of Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky, the founder of theoretical astronautics, a major inventor, author of works on philosophy and sociology, is presented in a comprehensive manner. Images of the technology of the future (airplane, airship, rocket, ethereal settlements) are presented, grounded by scientists.

Since 1966 the museum holds Scientific Readings in memory of KE Tsiolkovsky.

In the halls of the museum you can get acquainted with the domestic history of practical cosmonautics, from the first artificial earth satellite to modern long-term orbital stations. This is the history of the formation of rocket technology in the USSR, beginning in the 1920s, the activities of outstanding chief designers (SP Korolev, VP Glushko, VN Chelomey, SA Kosberg, GN Babakin, AM Isaev and others). This study of the Moon and the planets of the solar system with the help of automatic interplanetary stations. This is a manned space flight from “East” to “Buran”. This is the history of carrier rockets and a collection of rocket engines.

In the museum there is a model of the base block of the Mir orbital station open for visiting.

The second phase of the Astronautics Museum, the construction of which was started in 2014, involves the erection of a new modern building with an area of ​​12.5 thousand square meters, which is almost four times the area of ​​the existing one. Exposition area of ​​the museum will increase fivefold. Completion of construction is planned in December 2017.

The museum also incorporates a scientific effort to study the life and works of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky The Annual Tsiolkovsky Readings and Conference is organized by the museum