THIS IS SOVIET SPACE, the block buster, multimillion-dollar exhibit produced specially for its exclusive six-month showing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Designed to introduce adults and children alike to space exploration on an epic scale, Soviet Space takes each visitor on a fascinating journey into the vast frontier beyond Earth.
On display June 29 through January 1, 1992, Soviet Space is the first comprehensive view of the Soviet space program ever shown in the United States. Although the exhibit is presented by the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History Association, some of the pieces of space equipment, such as a 30-foot tall, four-ton space telescope, are so large that the Museum had to select an alternate site for the exhibit: Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall (across the parking lot from the Museum) in Fort Worth’s Cultural District, one mile west of downtown.
Soviet Space is the cornerstone of a multimedia space-oriented experience presented by the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. In addition to Soviet Space, the Museum is premiering Blue Planet, a widely acclaimed OMNI-MAX film, in the Omni Theater. Blue Planet features IMAX footage shot during five American space shuttle missions. The highly popular Omni Theater attracts more than 500, 000 visitors annually, with nearly a quarter coming from Dallas County. Space Spinoffs, a major traveling exhibit developed by the Museum with the help of NASA, returns to Fort Worth to demonstrate the practical benefits of the world’s space technology in our day-to-day lives. Space Race, a specially produced astronomy feature in the Museum’s Noble Planetarium, examines the early U. S. -U. S. S. R. race for “firsts” in space exploration.
“We’re very excited about Soviet Space and the opportunity it gives us to provide multiple programming, ” said Don Otto, executive director of the Museum. Soviet Space, Blue Planet, Space Spinoffs and Space Race provide a full day of entertainment for the whole family. At the same time, these exhibits provide visitors with an extraordinary opportunity to learn about space exploration and its practical applications in our day-to-day lives. “
THE EXPERIENCE OF SOVIET SPACE
Most people have looked up at a night sky and pondered, in some fashion, the very nature of our universe. What is its origin, its extent, and its fate? Where does man fit into the grand scheme of things? These are the very questions that have driven man to explore the vast frontier of space.
Soviet Space provides a rare, one-of-a-kind opportunity to witness firsthand some of man’s most phenomenal accomplishments and discoveries in space exploration. The exhibit, which will challenge your senses, provides non-stop entertainment and educational opportunities that the whole family will enjoy.
Soviet Space offers lots of fun, youth-oriented activities such as Mission Control, where visitors can play interactive computer games. In the exhibit, kids see what it’s like to be launched from Earth and get to watch a real lunar rover operated on a massive moonscape by a Soviet technician. They’ll visit a full-size, walk-through model of the Mir space station crew quarters for a taste of what it’s like to live in an environment where everything floats – even the cosmonauts.
A self-paced audio guide, provided at no extra charge, allows each Soviet Space visitor to feel the sensation of interplanetary travel. The audio guide is available in adult, child, and Spanish versions. Through the audio guide, visitors hear what it feels like to be in space looking back at Earth, what it’s like to live and work in a gravity-free environment the size of a small travel trailer for months at a time, and what it’s like to float free and unrestricted outside a spacecraft.
SOVIET SPACE HAS MAJOR ECONOMIC IMPACT ON TEXAS
According to Robert H. Townsend, executive director of Soviet Space, the exhibit is expected to draw in excess of 500, 000 visitors to Fort Worth during its six-month showing. “That translates into more than $65 million of economic benefit to North Texas, ” notes Town-send. “That may mean more than 40, 000 lodging nights, 500, 000 restaurant meals and untold shopping by our out-of-town visitors. “
THE WORLD’S MOST PROLIFIC SPACE PROGRAM
Most of us will be surprised to learn that the Soviets have the world’s most prolific space program. They were the first to launch a man into orbit, the first to reach another planet, and the first to launch a woman into space-fully 20 years before our own Dr. Sally Ride. Their impressive list of space firsts includes mapping the far side of the moon, and exploring Venus, Mars, and Halley’s comet. For 20 years, the Soviets have maintained a nearly continuous presence in space. Today, their cosmonauts spend as long as a year at a time in space aboard the Mir (“Peace”) space station.
The breadth and magnitude of the Soviet space program is nothing less than astounding. The Soviet Union has launched on the average more than two rockets per week since the 1970s. In recent years their space program has been responsible for more than 80% of all the world’s space exploration.
THE MYSTERY UNVEILED
Few of us have knowledge of Soviet accomplishments in space exploration, although many of us can remember that frightening day in October of 1957 when the Soviets aggravated an already tense cold war by launching Sputnik 1 -Earth’s first artificial satellite. In the midst of America’s postwar industrial boom, it was almost incomprehensible that any other nation would precede us in producing a rocket powerful enough to place a satellite in orbit. Sputnik I marked the beginning of an American-Soviet race for space supremacy that seemingly dissolved after the United States placed Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969. While from that point on, the two space programs went largely in different directions, Soviet Space demonstrates that the “race for space” is still going strong.
The fact that we know little about Soviet space accomplishments isn’t all that surprising. Our lack of awareness demonstrates a striking contrast between the American and Soviet societies that has existed for decades. While we broadcast news of our space triumphs and failures around the world, the Soviets launched space vehicles from remote facilities and conducted top-secret space missions.
Many of their space accomplishments remained largely cloaked in mystery, even to their own citizens – until now.
In terms of its size and scope, Soviet Space is unprecedented. The exhibit features more than 80 tons of Soviet space equipment, including more than 60 artifacts ranging from satellites, interplanetary probes, and rockets to a | working test model of Lunokhod 2, the automatic lunar rover that explored the moon’s surface for more than four months in 1973.
Visitors to the exhibit can examine artifacts that have actually traveled into space, including a Vostok return capsule, a lunar probe, and space suits. The exhibit also includes Granat, a 30-foot tall, four-ton space telescope; Ikarus, a “space motorcycle” propulsion unit for unrestricted travel outside a space vehicle; and a life-size, walk-through model of the Mir space station crew quarters, in which the Soviets have set world space endurance records.
Soviet Space also takes a glimpse at the future of space exploration, which could take some impressive steps during the upcoming decades. New unmanned missions are being planned for the study of Jupiter, Mars, and the moon, and manned missions of epic proportions are also on the drawing boards. Manned missions to Mars and 100-person, Earth-orbiting stations may become a reality sooner than we think.
SPECIAL LECTURE SERIES
For individuals seeking to learn even more about space exploration, educa-tional opportunities offered by Soviet Space go far beyond just a tour of the exhibit. Lectures by internationally known scientists, astronauts, and other space experts are being sponsored by Texas Christian University and The University of Texas at Arlington. For more information on lectures, call 817-347-4076.
Tickets are available at all Rainbow-TicketMaster locations, including all major Sears and Sound Warehouse locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and TicketQuik locations at selected 7-Eleven stores. Phone orders may be placed Monday through Saturday from 9: 00 a. m. to 6: 00 p. m. and on Sundays from noon to 6: 00 p. m. by calling Metro 787-1500 or 1-800-725-7200. Anon-refundable convenience charge will be added at Rainbow-TicketMaster outlets.
Each ticket is sold for a specific time and date, so advance ticket purchases are strongly recommended. Tickets are also available at the Soviet Space box office in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall.
Tickets are $8. 00 for adults; $5. 50 for children (5-12); $7. 00 for senior citizens (60 + ). All admissions include an audio cassette guided tour of the exhibit, available in adult, child, and Spanish versions. Special rates are available to groups of 20 or more. For group ticket information call Rainbow-TicketMaster or 817-336-USSR or 1-800-932-USSR.
Looking for that extra-special holiday gift or vacation memento? Don’t miss the 3, 000-square-foot gift shop at Soviet Space that features hard-to-find Soviet handmade crafts like jewelry, lacquer boxes, and nesting dolls. It also offers the nation’s largest collection of Soviet space paraphernalia – everything from models of Soviet spacecraft and authentic space mission patches to glow-in-the-darkT-shirts. The official Soviet Space catalogue and autographed copies of Valentin Lebedev’s Diary of a Cosmonaut are also available through the gift shop.