Monument to the Conquerors of Space

Monument to the Conquerors of Space
Monument to the Conquerors of Space in the Ostankino district of Moscow.

Monument to the Conquerors of Space Monument to the Suicide Astronauts

Monument to the Conquerors of Space the second highest among the monuments of Russia. In 1967, the Cosmonauts Memorial Alley appeared. In 2008, the Monument to the Conquerors of Space surrounded the square with the planets of the solar system. The authors also depicted Pluto there, although on August 24, 2006, the International Astronomical Union reclassified it as a Kuiper belt dwarf planet. Perhaps the authors have depicted the solar system on the square as it “looked” during the flight of Yuri Gagarin.

Over the past few years, the memorial Alley has been replenished with monuments to academician Keldysh, the creator of the rocket engines Glushko, the designer Chelomey. And in 2016, on Cosmonautics Day, busts of pilots-cosmonauts Alexander Alexandrov, Valentin Lebedev, Svetlana Savitskaya and Vladimir Solovyov were opened here. Two architects worked on the project – V.V. Perfiliev and A.K. Tikhonov – and 4 sculptors – A.V. Balashov, A.S. Zabaluev, E.I. Kazanskaya and I.N. Novikov. They say that … … astronauts call the monument a monument to suicide bombers because the rocket on it is at an angle. Such a situation is considered emergency, because just enough fuel is poured into the rocket to enter orbit along the shortest path – perpendicular to the Earth.

The middle of the 20th century became for Russia a time of technical breakthrough in the field of space exploration. It was then, or rather in the 50s, that the world’s first artificial Earth satellite, called “Sputnik-1”, was launched.

The whole world in those years witnessed how the pioneer in the field of spacecraft crossed the Earth’s atmosphere and became its satellite in orbit. This event became significant also because the aircraft was built in a socialist country, which means it overtook the Western capitalist countries in this area, several steps ahead.

History of origin
The Soviet government announced a competition for the best designs of the monument, and many architects and designers, both domestic and from other countries of the world, took part in it.

From a huge number of applications, about 300 of the best were selected for submission to a special commission, and exhibited at the exhibition in the Manezh complex. Only 3 works, in which the monument was depicted as an object taking off, received the highest rating.

The work of a group of architects and sculptors called “The People-Creator” was awarded 1st place, followed by 2 more winners – an ensemble called “Troy”, and a stele called “Red Star of the CEC”.

The original location was planned on Lenin Hills, now renamed Vorobyovy Gory, but the general view of the complex did not fit into the landscape and style of Lenin Hills, and it was proposed to install a monument on the territory of the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy, that is, VDNKh.

But despite the fact that the “People-Creator” project was chosen as the winner of the competition, it still had its flaws. So, in particular, there was no consensus among the authors of the project, in which version the train from the rocket, soaring up, would be erected. As a result of numerous options, the version in glass, slightly darkened with a smoky color, was chosen, leaving the opportunity to illuminate the stella from the inside with lamps at night.

This unusual and non-standard project was developed and carried out at the Scientific Research Center named after N.P. Melnikov, engaged in the design and research of metal structures, materials for construction, and various alloys.

The famous Soviet scientist, design engineer, father of Soviet cosmonautics – Sergei Pavlovich Korolev took a direct part in the fate of the legendary monument. He gave a great idea – to make the cladding of the stele from titanium plates, this gave additional advantages, since titanium was not subject to corrosion, and besides, it reflected the sky.

The whole composition as a whole was a true reflection of the very essence of the project, and gave scope for imagination and dreams to everyone who saw this stella. However, with the availability of titanium plates, difficulties arose – the material was from the category of deficiency, and only with the participation of S.P. Korolev himself, titanium was supplied without interruption.

The base of the stella is quite impressive, and S.P. Korolev came up with the idea to create a Museum of Cosmonautics in it, thus giving completeness to the entire complex. In the process of finalizing and creating a memorial structure, the height of the stele reached more than 100 meters, instead of the planned 50.

The whole structure was huge and weighed 250 tons. To simplify the installation of the complex, it was assembled on the ground, and already assembled was raised to the base, using cranes.

And finally, in 1964, on October 4, exactly 7 years after the first satellite was placed in Earth orbit, the memorial complex was solemnly opened.

For 3 years, the adjoining territory of the complex was turned into a park, with the now famous alley “Heroes of Space”.

The alley had a memorial meaning – everything here was supposed to speak and remind of the first steps of the USSR in outer space, therefore sculptures and monuments were erected to all the pioneers of outer space, and of course, to the designers of spacecraft. Here you can see the legendary, world famous Yuri Gagarin. The first woman-cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, commander of the first controlled flight – Vladimir Komarov.

On the alley, the great scientists and researchers of that time, in the field of space programs and space technology, are immortalized – Vsevolod Keldysh and Valentin Glushko. A special place here is occupied by the statue of S.P. Korolev himself, as the father of Soviet cosmonautics.

In the first years of our century, the alley was reconstructed – new monuments were added, and a model of the solar system was installed, consisting of the planets that were part of it, according to the latest data of the International Astronomical Union.

Architectural execution
In addition to its function, to perpetuate the achievements of the Soviet country in the development of space exploration, the complex was intended to carry an ideological meaning, which was expressed in the structure of the structure itself. After all, the middle of the 20th century became a powerful leap forward in the field of technological progress, and a new sphere for mankind – the development of the previously inaccessible expanses of space. And the very fact that the country was again ahead of the rest of the planet was expressed in the idea of the execution of the complex – an abstract solution of execution, as a challenge to everything that is already outdated.

The Monument to the Conquerors of Space is made in the form of a rocket, soaring to unknown heights of space, and leaving a trail behind it, and is installed on an impressive pedestal that can already accommodate the Museum of Cosmonautics, giving the complex as a whole completeness both in architectural terms and in meaning.

The very base from the outside is decorated with large-scale figures of people who took the most direct part in the formation of cosmic development. There was also a figure of S.P. Korolev, but she had to be removed, since the scientist did not consider himself worthy of such an honor. He argued that there are people who deserve this honor much more than he does.

And the alley of “Heroes of Space” was replenished with a sculpture by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a former theoretician of cosmonautics, and personifying a link from humanity to the vast expanses of space.

The image of the monumental complex was used more than once, so coins were issued in denominations of 10 kopecks, in the 60s of the XX century, as a reflection of a significant date for the Soviet state – 50 years of Soviet power. And on anniversary rubles, in the year of the Olympics in Moscow – 1980.

The complex has appeared on several occasions in video footage of some Western music groups.

Copies of the complex
There are known 2 copied monuments, in reduced sizes.

One of them was installed in the homeland of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, in the Kaluga region, the city of Borovsk. This version looked like an exact copy of the original, on a reduced scale, with a sculpture of Tsiolkovsky himself located nearby. In the 80s, the monument was repeatedly damaged by vandals, and it was decided to demolish it. Much later, in 2007, the stele was erected, but already in bronze.

The second reproduction of the complex was donated from the country of the Councils of the United Nations, and installed in Geneva – the UN headquarters.

The composition “Conquerors of Space” and the Museum of Cosmonautics are rightfully the most interesting memorable places in the capital of our homeland, Moscow, and allow us to carry through the centuries the memory and respect for the great founders and founders of space exploration.