8th September 1995 - Visiting Star City

by Peter Gülzow, DB2OS

Updated on 08 January 1996

Star City is situated forty kilometers north-east from Moscow. It consists of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Centre and a residential area. It is a big scientific research complex, virtual space academy that all Russian and many foreign cosmonauts have gone through. The centre is equipped with numerous simulators and unique installations which help to prepare a man for work under the conditions of a spaceflight. Cosmonauts undergo specific training of the vestibular system to ensure their normal functions in weightlessness. One can see the neutral buoyancy simulator which is used for simulation of the extravehicular activity outside of the space station.

A huge centrifuge trains a cosmonauts body to sustain overloads inevitable during the take-off and re-entry phase. The centrifuge is housed in a special building. Its 18-meters long revolving arm carries on its end the cabin accommodating a cosmonaut and equipment.

Boris Naumov and Vladimir A. Zagainov awaiting us for the tour through the Cosmonauts Training Centre Facilities.

You can see mock-ups of the MIR orbital station and its modules in which cosmonauts will conduct their future space-research work and experiments.

Above you can see the MIR main core modul which you can later also see from the inside. The module KVANT 1 is docked on the right end of the main core. The adapter in the middle has six docking ports, which are used for the KVANT 2, KRISTALL, SPEKTR, PRIRODA and other modules. A little crane can be used to re- arrange the station configuration and to move a module port from one docking port to another.

Before a new module will arrive at the station, the complete manouvers can be simulated here and the training modules can be arranged for specific training inside in preparation for various experiments.

Boris Naumov, Peter Gülzow, Eugeny Labutin and Vladimir Zagainov

The Control Desk in the MIR main module. The replica consists of computers, components of the actual equipment on board the spacecraft in orbit and devices which simulate the external flight situation. The TZUP's MIR Mission Control Centre control systems are linked with the spacecraft in orbit and the MIR mock-up by the same communication channels. Thus, any actions by the Crew in orbit can be simulated and verified here on ground.

This is the "kitchen" were the cosmonauts can prepare the meal. Every cosmonaut has his own menu and can choose from different kinds of food and taste, they can eat what they want. The food comes in little tins and tubes which are electrically heated. Some of the food is dehydrated. The cosmonauts have four meals a day; first breakfast, second breakfast, lunch and supper. The daily consumption in terms of calories is 3200. After 60 to 80 days in space many cosmonauts felt their appetite diminishing and the taste of food changing. This was due to shifts in metabolism and changes occuring in the body. In addition, they got tired of some dishes. Any traveller who has been on tinned food will say the same. Thus, both space and earth travellers face the same problem.

Left picture: Each day all cosmonauts need to do some exercising to keep the muscles in good shape and to inhibit atrophy caused by weightlesssness during long flights. 10 to 12 hours a day the cosmonauts wear Penguin cotton track suits which are "reinforced" with elastic tape in some special places to put an extra load on the muscles and thus compensate for the absence of the force of gravity. Right picture: Docking port and tunnel to the KVANT 1 module. The Lavatory on the left.

The MIR station is now 10 Years old and from time to time some repair is neccessary or older modules will be replaced by new equipment. The workbench can be used for many kinds of mechanical work, including soldering, welding, drilling, etc.

Training personal can watch and advice the cosmonauts from here and different conditions including emergencies can be simulated.

This is a view into the Soyus spacecraft

This is one of two Soyus spacecraft simulators. The cosmonaut pilots are training here for launch, approach and docking to the MIR station, and landing under fully simulated conditions. Sophisticated graphical and computerized displays are giving a realistic view from space and the space station, including stars.

Red buttons on the main control desk are used to simulate emergency situations.

Zero Gravity Simulation and EVA training




Hall of Fame - the Gagarin Musuem

Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968) and Sergei Korolyov (1907-1966)

On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin (left) was the first human to leave the Earth's gravitation and to usher in the space age. His 108-minute flight around the planet proved that man can live and fly far ayway from the Earth. Chief Designer Sergei Korolyov (right) first appeared in the papers in January 1966, in a black frame. Before he died his name was known only to a very few people. Sergei Korolyov supervised the development of early Soviet experimental rockets and space complexes. He directed the launching of the first artificial satellites (SPUTNIK-1 launched on 04 October 1957) and the first manned spacecfraft. The exploration of the Moon, Mars and Venus with the help of automatic interplanetary probes was begun under him. After his first space flight Yuri Gagarin trained for new flights. He also devoted much time to the training of colleagues. He became Deputy Commander of the Cosmonaut Training Centre in 1964 until he was killed in an air accident while on a training flight in March 1968. After male cosmonauts had flown 11 missions the first spacewoman Valentina Tereshkova (born 1937) performed her space flight on 16-19 June 1963. Her VOSTOK-6 orbitted the Earth 49 times in 70 hours and 50 minutes. A crater on the Moon has been named after Tereshkova.

first VOSTOK manned spacecraft



Clubstation of the Cosmonauts Radio Communication Training Centre in Star City


Ham Radio (Amateur Radio) has a very important and widely accepted role in the Russian Space Station "MIR". Not only during long duration flights it gives the cosmonauts the opportunity to talk to many people on the ground as a kind of hobby and variety in the spare time. Many cosmonauts used this before and confirmed that it helps them to stay in contact with the home planet earth. Additionaly there are positive aspects on education of young people. There have been many hamradio contacts with schools were children could ask questions to the cosmonauts and trying to understand space science. Beside this, it is also a factor of safety in case of an emergency onboard and the need for communication. There will be always radio amateurs listening to them everywhere on the earth. Therefor, any cosmonaut must be trained to use the ham radio equipment on-board MIR, which consists of a 2m/70cm transceiver for voice (FM) and data transmission (Packet Radio). At the end of the training, the cosmonauts get their ham radio license to use R0MIR.

Cosmonaut Vladimir A. Zagainov (UA3DKR) is the chief of the new radio communication training centre RK3DZB

Vladimir Zagainov (UA3DKR) and Eugeny Labutin (RA3APR) discussing further development of the communications training centre.

Peter Gülzow (DB2OS), Leonid Labutin (UA3CR), Valentin Semitchev (RZ3DK) and Vladimir Zagainov (UA3DKR) talking about future ham radio activities on- board "MIR" and the International Space Station Alpha.

The Clubstation RK3DZB is fully equipped with several modern radio transceivers for short-wave and uhf/vhf band, including packet radio, computers and automatic antenna control. Here the cosmonauts can learn all about the different facets of Ham Radio and will be prepared to get the ham radio examination. Every cosmonaut must do some sort of basic training, but those who wish to learn more about ham radio can use the station whenever they wish to. About every third cosmonaut is more interested in ham radio and enjoys talking to hams around the world.

Leonid Labutin (UA3CR) and Sergei Samburov (RV3DR) at the MCC in Kaliningrad are awaiting that the current R0MIR crew comes on-line.

All photos and text are ©opyright 1995,96 by Peter Gülzow