Star City Exposed

Photographer Maria Gruzdeva's Direction-Space! Delves Into Russia’s Cosmonaut Training Center

Astronaut suits, spaceman mosaics and cryptic control panels all feature in photographer Maria Gruzdeva’s new work Direction- Space!, which we excerpt in today’s slideshow. The book sheds light on the 1960s Space Race with an exposé into two of Soviet Russia’s secretive space facilities, where astronauts still live and work. “Their way of life is divided into time fragments unknown to us,” Gruzdeva says. “They are constantly preparing or waiting for something.” Shooting with a Hasselblad 503CW, the Russian-born photographer documented her visits to the highly restricted Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, located north-east of Moscow in the area known as Star City, and Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome (the site of Yuri Gagarin’s debut flight into space), after negotiating access on the grounds she’d be escorted by a supervisor at all times. The facilities Gruzdeva came across included hydro laboratories and exact satellite replicas that, despite being modern in manufacture date, appear frozen in time.“Because of the reticence and insularity of this world the physical space and its spirit have been preserved,” Gruzdeva explains.

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