When Galina Balashova designed her first space habitation module for Soviet cosmonauts, she drew a landscape on its interior wall, something that could remind them of home. In a 2015 interview, she said, "When I popped by to commission the final product they asked me where to procure the painting for the wall. When I replied that it was not needed I was reproached: 'No, it’s been signed off and so we will build it exactly that way.' So I sat down one night and painted pictures for the space capsules. Usually watercolors depicting Russian countryside. They all burned to nothing on re-entry." [more inside]
The Mixtape 24: Soviet Space Disco courtesy of The Calvert Journal: [October]'s mixtape is a collection of cosmic disco music from the archives of Soviet state record label Melodiya. Compiled for the launch of the exhibition Soviet Space Archive: Configuration II (on display at Calvert 22 Gallery between 10 October — 31 October 2015), it showcases the otherworldly highlights of the label’s eclectic Diskoklub series, including the swirling synths and tight brass of groups such as Zodiak from Latvia. For the exhibition opening, curators Rory McCartney and Ella McCartney will host a Soviet Space Disco. This mix captures the futuristic soundtrack to the opening event.
Russiatrek.org's blog has a nice collection of Soviet propaganda posters. Soviet space program 1958-1963 Part 1. Part 2. International Workers' Day. Soviet Patriotism. Soviet propaganda - the beginning 1917-1923. Stalin's Soviet Union tourism posters. Socialism vs. Capitalism. WWII Part 1. Part 2. Soviet posters of the 1970's. The blog's art category.
Today marks 25 years since Buran, the enigmatic Soviet Space Shuttle clone, made her single unpiloted 2-orbit flight before an inglorious retirement like her known siblings.
An interesting article from Wired about Soviet photo manipulations from the 1960s space race. [more inside]
Road to the Stars (Doroga k Zvezdam, 1958) was a remarkable Soviet documentary about the future of space exploration, directed by the "Godfather of Star Wars" and still admired for its impressive miniature effects. Watch the entire film.
Some photo galleries (and youtube video) of Buran, the USSR's space shuttle program (previously) from the 1980's, long since abandoned. Bonus: A comparison between Buran and the US space shuttle. Double Bonus: More on Buran from russianspaceweb.com, which is awesome. Combo breaker: An official page with NASA's take on Buran, (and their photos), frozen in time a decade ago.
That the first space race was politically motivated shouldn't detract from your enjoyment of Soviet propaganda space art. More here and here.
The Soviet Union’s answer to Saturn V, the massive, complex, and top-secret N1 rocket, failed win the moon race after four disastrous launch explosions between 1969 and 1972. In 2004, Polecat Aerospace had much better luck launching their 1/16 N1 scale model.
Phantom Cosmonauts On November 28, 1960, a morse code transmission reading "SOS to the whole world" from an orbiting spaceship was picked up by the Judica-Cordiglia brothers with their home-made radio tracking station in San Maurizio Canavese, Italy. Sometime between February 2-4, they picked up telemetry of a dying cosmonauts heartbeat and breathing. Yuri Gagarin, the universally acknowledged first man in space, did not make his flight until April 12, 1961. These brothers claimed that they intercepted radio transmissions of other secret flights as well. Were there secret Soviet spaceflights that ended in the death of Cosmonauts? Most tend to disagree, and offer an excellent debunking. I started reading about this several weeks before the Columbia, but it now has a new poignancy. I agree that it is exceedingly unlikely that these alleged flights took, but the claims of these brothers, mingled with various other rumor and various Soviet urban legends, (along with the fact of Russian/Soviet general secrecy about most everything,) create an alternate history that is exceedingly disturbing.
Secrets of the Cold War in Space. Deep Cold is an website with detailed renderings, quicktime movies and information about the ideas and concepts being developed for both U.S. and Soviet presences in space during the cold war.