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Racing to the Moon

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This lifeless space traveler orbited the Earth on March 23, 1961, weeks before Yuri Gagarin's flight. His mission tested the Vostok spacecraft and SK-1 pressure suit, as well as the tracking and recovery operations. The mannequin is named "Ivan Ivanovich," the Russian equivalent of "John Doe." Technicians were concerned that Ivan's features were so lifelike that they wrote "model" on the forehead, so anyone finding the mannequin upon landing would not be confused.

Like subsequent Vostok cosmonauts, Ivan was ejected from the spacecraft in an ejection seat after reentering the atmosphere. He parachuted out of the seat and landed near the Ural Mountains city of Izevsk during a heavy snow storm. Ivan has remained in his spacesuit ever since.

Manufacturer: Moscow Prosthetic Appliances Works (mannequin); Zvezda (space suit)

Lent by The Perot Foundation

Ivan Ivanovich
177 k jpeg
SI#: 97-16252-3


Although the Soviet Union was achieving newsworthy firsts in space, very little was known in the West about its space program. Detailed information about missions and the identity of program managers and engineers were closely guarded state secrets. The notebooks of Konstantin Feoktistov, an engineer and cosmonaut whose importance was hidden for decades, contain rare, behind-the-scenes insights into the early Soviet space program during 1958-1959.

Portrait of Feoktistov
96 k jpeg
SI#: 87-09082
Censorship stamp from Feoktistov notebook
216 k jpeg
Feoktistov's notebooks, which bear censorship stamps marking them "Secret," became public in 1989. The following pages were reproduced from the fragile originals.

Courtesy of The Perot Foundation

In his notes Feoktistov listed the research institutes and design bureaus responsible for each spacecraft component. These organizations were drawn from the Soviet Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Defense, and other entities. Feoktistov referred to them by abbreviations and generic names.

Courtesy of The Perot Foundation

Page from Feoktistov notebook
258 k jpeg
The notebooks include sketches of manned spacecraft, an indication that shortly after Sputnik the Soviets were thinking of launching cosmonauts.

Courtesy of The Perot Foundation

Sketch from Feoktistov notebook
130 k jpeg

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