Monument to the Conquerors of Space

The Monument to the Conquerors of Space  was erected in Moscow in 1964 to celebrate achievements of the Soviet people in space exploration

Monument to Sergei Korolyov in Cosmonauts Alley in Moscow
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It depicts a starting rocket that rises on its contrail. The monument is 110 meters (360.9 feet) tall, has 77° incline, and is made of titanium.

The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics is located inside the base of the monument.

Location and surroundings

The monument is located outside the main entry to today's All-Russia Exhibition Centre (known until 1992 as the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy, VDNKh), in the northeastern part of Moscow, near Prospekt Mira («Peace Avenue»).

The easiest access is from the VDNKh subway station.

Monument as observed against the sun on a bright spring day
pinterest button Monument as observed against the sun on a bright spring day Ichattopadhyaya, CC BY-SA 3.0

Since the 1960s, this part of Moscow in general has had a high concentration of space-themed sights and names: besides the monument and the museum under it, the grand «Cosmos» pavilion in the Exhibition Centre displayed many artifacts of the Soviet space program.

Many streets in the area have been named after the precursors of the space program (Nikolai Kibalchich, Friedrich Zander, Yuri Kondratyuk) and its participants (Sergey Korolyov).

The Cosmonauts Alley south of the monument features busts of Soviet cosmonauts.

The choice of this part of Moscow for space-related names and monuments may have been inspired by the fact that Prospekt Mira runs toward the north-eastern suburbs of Moscow, where, in Podlipki (today's Korolyov City) much of the space program was based.

Korolyov himself lived in a house within a few blocks from the monument, which is now preserved as Korolyov Memorial Museum.

History

In March 1958, a few months after the launch of Sputnik 1, a competition was announced for the best design of an obelisk celebrating the dawn of the Space Age.

Out of some 350 proposals, the design by sculptor A.P. Faidysh-Krandievsky and architects A.N. Kolchin and M.O. Barshch was chosen.

The grand opening of the monument took place on October 4, 1964, on the day of the 7th anniversary of the Sputnik 1 launch.

Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics
pinterest button Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics Clay Gilliland, CC BY-SA 2.0

The monument was designed to accommodate a museum in its base.

However, it took until April 10, 1981 (two days before the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight) to complete the preparatory work and open the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics.

The museum reopened on April 12, 2009 after three years of renovations.

Design and sculpture

The main part of the monument is a giant obelisk topped by a rocket and resembling in shape the exhaust plume of the rocket. It is 107 meters (350 feet) tall and, on Korolyov's suggestion, covered with titanium cladding.

A statue of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the precursor of astronautics, is located in front of the obelisk.

A poem in Russian on the front of the stone base of the monument base says:

Approximate translation:

Below, in smaller letters, is the dedicatory statement:

('This monument was constructed to celebrate the outstanding achievements of the Soviet people in space exploration'), and the year, 1964.

Stylobate of the monument to the Conquerors of Space
pinterest button Stylobate of the monument to the Conquerors of Space А. Кулаков, GNU 1.2

Both sides of the monument base, in their front parts, are decorated with haut- and bas-reliefs depicting men and women of the space program: scientists, engineers, workers, their occupations indicated by appropriate accoutrements of the professions.

Laika dog as a part of the Monument
pinterest button Laika dog as a part of the Monument Laika ac, CC BY-SA 2.0

Notable figures include a computer programmer (or perhaps some other computing or telecommunications professional) holding a punched tape, a cosmonaut wearing a space suit, and Laika, the first space dog.

A fragment of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space
pinterest button A fragment of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space Laika ac, CC BY-SA 2.0

No contemporary Soviet politicians are depicted in the monument either (that would violate the convention existing in the post-Joseph Stalin Soviet Union against commemorating living persons in this fashion), but the crowd on the right side of the monument are moving forward under the banner of Vladimir Lenin.

Useful Information

Monument to the Conquerors of Space
Russian: Монумент «Покорителям космоса»

Admission

Museum full ticket price: ₽ 200
Discount ticket price for schoolchildren and students: ₽ 50
Photography: ₽ 200
Video: ₽250

Opening hours

  • Museum — Tue-Sun: 11:00-19:00
  • Thur: 11:00-21:00
  • Mon: closed

Contacts

111 Mira avenue, Moscow,129164
129164, Москва, пр. Мира, д.111

☎ +7(495) 683-79-68 +7(495)682-57-60

The monument reflected in other media

The Monument to the Conquerors of Space is featured on the 1967 ten-kopeck piece, one of the series of the commemorative coins issued to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. This coin has the distinction of being the smallest-denomination commemorative coin ever minted in the Soviet Union. (It was the smallest coin in the 1967 series—the only time commemorative fractional currency coins were ever produced in the USSR. All later commemorative coins were either 1 ruble, or a higher denomination).

The Monument is also featured in the music video "Go West" by Pet Shop Boys.

The monument is depicted on the home kit for the Russia national football team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup on the front of the shirts in different shades of maroon.

Clones

The monument to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in downtown Borovsk, designed by Sergey Bychkov, contains a nearly exact scale replica of the Conquerors of Space "rocket needle" and a whimsical statue of Tsiolkovsky gazing into the skies (and wearing valenki boots). It was unveiled in 2007. A copy of this statue (but not the "rocket needle") is installed at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.