Star City Moscow
The centre for Russian Space Training

This picture of Mir was taken from the Space Shuttle Discovery during
STS-91 in June 1998.     NASA photo

From the 1940s to the 1990s, the secretive USSR created a massive constellation of ghost geography. Hundreds of cities. Over a million people living off the map. Not "off the grid"—towns were literally left off of Soviet maps, kept from prying eyes. If you lived there, your city had no public name and as a citizen you were a non-person.

In one of these secret cities, established in 1960 and known as "Military Unit 26266 in closed town number one," young Russians were trained to be launched into the skies and beyond. Star City, located just east of Moscow, became the home of the Cosmonauts.

During the 1960s the Soviet Union planned extensively for a lunar landing and trained over 60 cosmonauts. Star City blossomed into a real town with its own post office, movie theatre, railway station, and a couple of schools—all very, very secret. Its citizens were given special passports so they could enter and leave. Star City was a small world onto itself, kept hidden not just from other countries but from fellow Russians.

The space program was once a powerful point of pride within the great communist dream, but in 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, it left Star City and the cosmonauts in serious trouble. At the time, cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev was on board the Mir space station, with the landing site in Kazakhstan suddenly no longer part of the USSR. Sergei was left on board Mir for months as Russia struggled with the Kazakhstan government.

Star City adapted and began working more closely with NASA. By the mid 1990s, the curtain of secrecy of Star City had lifted slightly. For the first time, visitors could catch a glimpse of the tank where cosmonauts practice their space walks under water, or the gigantic centrifuge where the soon-to-be space travelers are swung around at dizzying speeds under eight times the force of gravity.

In 2008 control of Star City was officially handed over from the Russian military to space agency Roscosmos, making it a civil rather than military organization. It marked the first time since its establishment in 1960 that Star City became open to the general public, though still only with permission.

Download outline of what you can visit.

Full Day Tour
This Star City Tour includes:

The cost of standard Star City tour including visiting three main GCTC objects (Soyuz spaceship simulators hall, ISS hall, Mir space station hall) on weekdays is 400 Euro (for a group up to 10 pax). At the weekends the price doubles and since Jan, 8 is still a New Year Holiday the price for the tour is 800 Euro.

You may extend your tour program by adding any extra objects at your own choice:

- Entrance inside Mir space station module – 130 Euro for group up to 10 pax;

- Entrance inside ISS module – 130 Euro for group up to 10 pax;

- Centrifuge Cf-7 observe tour – 130 Euro for group;

- Soyuz spaceship descent capsule opening– 130 Euro;

You may either include elements of real space trainings in your program if you are interested in:

- Sokol rescue spacesuit training - 600 Euro for 2 pax;

- Briefing with a cosmonaut – 500 Euro per group;

- Space food simulator – 1150 Euro per group;

- Soyuz simulator training – 2100 Euro (for 2 pax);

- Space planetarium astronavigation training – 800 Euro per group

- vestibular training laboratory – 150 Euro (visiting the laboratory) + 40 Euro per person (rotation)

*At the weekends price for trainings is 30% higher.

The cost of interpreter’s services is 100 Euro for the standard tour and up to 250 Euro for the extended tour depending on its duration.

Yuri Gagarin Star City Cosmonauts Badge Star City guide book cover
Russian space suit Museum exhibits Historical Projects

And whilst you are in Moscow don't forget the Cosmonaut and Space Museum

A Rare Look at the Russian Side of the Space Station
How the other half lives.

Belka and Strelka: Space Celebrities
Two “canine cosmonauts” went into orbit and safely returned