Museum of the History of Baikonur Cosmodrome
The first room of the museum focuses on the story of the construction of the cosmodrome, with photographs and personal items belonging to Shubnikov, and some striking photographs of the tented settlement in which the cosmodromes builders initially lived. The town was built exclusively on the north side of the Syr Darya River so as not to waste time on the construction of bridges. The next room looks at the history of the Soviet space programme. There is a relief featuring Shubnikov, Gagarin and Korolev. A full-size model of the first Sputnik shows its simple structure and small scale - a polished metal ball from which antennae trailed. There are models of the Vostok, Soyuz and N-l rockets, and of the Energia rocket with the Buran space shuttle on its back. There are descriptions of the work of the leading Soviet rocket designers, with models and photographs of the fruits of their work. A mannequin of a spacesuited cosmonaut lies in an uncomfortable- looking huddled position, protectively wrapped in the 'Falcon' safety harness. Also on display is a container in which space dogs would be sent up into the cosmos. A bright orange lifesuit burdened with the name 'Trout-3' is on display, together with a photograph of French astronaut Claudie Haignere, the first Frenchwoman in space, wearing it in the water while she smilingly sets off an orange flare so that she may be found. Although the fact that she is being photographed doing so rather suggests that she already has been. There are models too of some of the facilities at the cosmodrome, including one of the assembly and test blocks, where the rockets are assembled, and the Soyuz launch pad.
Displays in the corridor look at the history of the town, initially known as Zarya until it received the formal name of Leninsk village in 1958, becoming the town of Leninsk in 1966. This designation won out over an alternative proposal to name the place Zvezdograd, 'Star City'. Photographs of festivals celebrated in the town include both Russian holidays, like Maslinitsa, Russia's Pancake Day, and Kazakh ones such as the Nauryz spring holiday. The ethnographic hall, entered from the corridor, is a half-hearted affair, offering a nod to Kazakh culture with a display of items to be found in a yurt, and paintings by local artist Zhailaubay Baisalov.