Collection Item Summary:
This is a one-third scale model of the spacecraft that carried Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet pilot, into space making him the first person to orbith the Earth on April 12, 1961. The Vostok 3KA spacecraft carried Yuri Gagarin and other Vostok cosmonauts into space in the early 1960s. The 3KA designation indicates that this was the thrid in the series of design of this spacecraft.
Made with a wooden framework covered in metal and lacquer, this model includes the launch vehicle’s upper stage that lifted the spherical craft above Earth’s atmosphere. The spacecraft also had a conical equipment module at its base that carried oxygen and fuel. Engineers coated the spacecraft with a metalicized film to make it highly reflective and visible in the night sky. The model was one of a series made for display in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The model was originally equipped with lights that flashed on the inside to give a realistic view of what Gagarin's spacecraft looked like while in orbit.
The Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics in Kaluga, Russia gave this model on loan to the museum in 1961 and transferred title in 2010.