Today is a big day in space history. April 12th, 2016 marks the 55th anniversary of Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s historic space flight. And, on April 12, 1981, 20 years after Yuri became the first man in space, the US launched its very first space shuttle.
Eight years ago, I had the privilege of visiting Star City, home of the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. I received a private tour of the facility and had the opportunity to step inside a real Orlan Space Suit….that’s the suit worn during a space walk outside the space station. (I used to have trouble remembering which suit was which…now I think “Orlan” starts with “o” like “outside” and is worn outside the space station and “Sokol” starts with “s” like “Soyuz” and is worn inside the Soyuz capsule.)
We’ve been offering a variety of space suit training programs at Star City since 1994. Take it from me. If you’re the least bit claustrophobic, steer clear of the Orlan suit and opt for Sokol suit training.
Star City is not open to the general public. Security clearance is required and visits must be arranged more than a month in advance. If you’re interested in going behind the scenes of the Russian space program, let me know. Maybe I’ll go with you. I’m due for a return visit!