5 11 2012

The “Cosmos” Pavilion, VDNKh, Moscow, USSR/”Космос” павииьон, ВДНХ, Москва, СССР, 1988

A few months ago, while looking for something else, my partner came across a set of postcards I bought in the Soviet Union in 1988. They’ve been sitting on my desk ever since, waiting to be scanned, uploaded, and explained. I bought them on the penultimate day of my trip, when I made a solo journey out to VDNKh, or the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (ВДНХ, Выставка Достижений Народного Хозяйства), in the northern suburbs of Moscow. At the time, VDNKh was a massive exhibition grounds dedicated to celebrating the technological and economic of accomplishments of the Soviet government and states. Anyone who has been to a World Expo would have no difficult recognizing the purpose and organization of the grounds—dramatic vistas, state pavilions subsumed into a national narrative, folk music and costumes at every corner, heavy emphasis progress in science and technology. It would’ve been a nice lesson in state propaganda had I not already been immersed in it for weeks. I spent my afternoon in the Cosmos Pavilion (except when I was outside listening to music and eating bubliki, which for some reason weren’t available in Leningrad). I was practically pulsating with energy, a far cry from my usual state of melancholy that summer. It was my first opportunity to see real spacecraft and I was going to do it even if it meant navigating the Metro solo. That the spacecraft happened to be Soviet didn’t matter at all to me. At least, I don’t remember sorting out the exhibits in the Space Pavilion in terms of US vs. USSR, Us vs. Them. I was just excited to see real satellites and a bit awed by their size. A few of the postcards and their captions (click on the images for a larger view):

A citizen of the USSR Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the earth in a space flight/The carrier rocket of the “Vostok” space ship//Первый космонавт–гражданин СССР Ю. А. Гагарин. Ракета космического корабеля “Восток”

The “Cosmos-1514” specialised biological satellite for the comprehensive study of animals and plants//Специализированный биологический спутник “Космос-1514” для комплексного исследования животных и растений

The “Lunakhod-2” remote-controlled lunar exploration vehicle transmitted 80,000 pictures of the lunar surface to the Earth//Автоматический самоходный аппарат “Луноход-2” передал на Землю 80 тысяч изображений луной поверхности

The Salyut long-term orbital station, docked with a “Soyuz” spaceship and a Progress cargo spacecraft, in flight//Долповременная орбитальная станция “Салют”, состыкованная с кораблем “Союз” и грузовозом “Прогресс” в полете

The “Cosmos-1500” artificial satellite of the earth for studying the World Ocean and the land surface; the “Luna-24” automatic interplanetary station delivered samples of moon rock to the Earth//Иссуственный спутник Земли “Космос-1500” для исследования Мирового океана и поверхности суши; Автоматическая межпланетная станция “Луна-24” обеспечала доставку образцов лунного грунта



Observatories and Instruments