In this post we will see the book An A-Z Of Cosmonautics by V. Gor’kov and Yu. Avdeev.
About the book
In the year marking the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight into space, I was responsible for running the “Small Inter- cosmos’’competition. It was given this title because with the Soviet children taking part in this competition were others from Bulgaria, Hungary, Vietnam, the GDR, Laos, Mongolia and Czechoslovakia. Each o f the competitors had to devise an experiment which in his or her opinion might be carried out in space. These children sent in more than two thousand suggestions and amongst these were some that, in my opinion, most children would be capable o f inventing. Take a few examples. A cat, as we know, is one o f the most agile o f all creatures. But how would it behave in a state of weightlessness?
Other children suggested taking ants and bees on board a spaceship. These insects have an excellent sense o f orientation when on Earth. The children proposed an investigation as to whether this sense would be quite so keen if the insects were inside an orbital space station.
There were many suggestions and projects and it would be impossible to list them all here. I can say only one thing— that cosmonautics has ceased to be the domain o f adults alone. That is not really surprising. Many schoolchildren know more about outer space now than the first cosmonauts themselves knew when preparing for their flights.
It was by chance that I began here by mentioning the “Small Intercosmos’’. This competition underlined the fact that children need good and attractive books for their studies in cosmonautics. An A-Z of Cosmonautics is just such a book.
The book was translated from the Russian by K. Ford and was published by Mir in 1989. The design and illustrations were done by V. Stulikov, E. Ilatovsky.
The state of Soviet space technology depicted here is perhaps in its prime (the Russian edition was in 1984). Now in 2021 it seems much of the technology and institutes depicted in this book might be in ruins, and they definitely are not in the best form as shown here. This book provides an unique, and perhaps the last (1989), insight into the Soviet space venture, detailing the history and state of the art that time in a way that is enchanting for young readers.
Though the file size is large (~130M), it does justice to fantastic colour images in the book. I will perhaps post an optimised file sometime later.
You can get the book here.
This book holds a special significance for me. It is the only book that my father gifted to me about two and a half decades back (mid nineties). This book was source of endless fascination about outer space, rockets and space ships. Not to mention the amazing, yet simple drawings depicting the various aspects of space travel. They inspired me to do my own drawings.. In today’s an hypermedia era when you can get any images and information with a simple search, such books may not hold that magic. But back in those days, this book (and books like this) provided the much needed fuel for flights of fantasy! You could model your space station along these lines, and imagine the kind of food cosmonauts eat, how they live, how they train.. I hope others also find this book as fascinating as I did in my younger years.
I came to know about Laika and Yuri Gagarin from this book.
Space port Baikonur!
And we have liftoff!
How does inside of the space station looks like?
Weightlessness you say??
Welcome back home!
The multi-page spanner internal structure of Soyuz is highly fascinating.
And also of various other vehicles
Also Sputniks which started it all!
The book also has some famous illustrations from the past, for example the Flammarion engraving.
The book took time to clean as you can see in the comparison images below. I had to manually clean almost all the pages with images, but the result was worth it.
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