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Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center

Located about an hour north of Moscow in Star City, the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center offers a glimpse into the Soviet space program that was once off-limits to outsiders. Named after Yuri Gagarin, the first man to fly in space, the training facility sits in a densely forested area, its whereabouts unknown for years as the United States and the former Soviet Union battled for space supremacy. Today, it continues to train Russian cosmonauts but is open to the public. A guided tour of the facility makes for a unique experience while visiting Moscow.

Administered by the Russian Federal Space Agency since 2009, the training center features full-size mock-ups of all major spacecraft developed since the Soviet era, including the Soyuz – which was built in the 1960s to take astronauts to the Soviet space stations – and the space shuttle Buran.