On January 11, 2014 world-famous Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre celebrated its 54th anniversary.
Situated in Star City (Moscow region), restricted area of GCTC is of great importance not only for Russian but for the world space exploration. Being a unique object equipped with unique cosmonaut training facilities it has been training all world cosmonauts and astronauts flying to the ISS.
The facility was originally known only as Military Unit 26266 and was a secret training base for Soviet Cosmonaut candidates. The site was chosen for its proximity to Moscow and other infrastructure that would be essential for its function: Chkalovsky Airbase, and the Yaroslavl railroad.
In 1969 it was named after Yuri Gagarin, the first man to fly in space. On April 2009, Russia President Dmitry Medvedev signed a presidential decree transferring the center from the Defence Ministry to the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos).
Among its facilities are Centrifuge TsF-18 used for cosmonaut selection and training by simulating the bad factors of space flight such as longitudinal g-load, physiological micro gravity, low cabin pressure, different temperatures, humidity, gas composition of the cabin’s air which is the biggest centrifuge in the world and has unique technical features; Hydrolaboratory that enables to practice extravehicular activities under conditions of neutral buoyancy using Orlan EVA spacesuit; full scale mockup of Mir space station, Russian ISS segment active simulator and many others. Moreover GCTC is a place when history and future of space exploration meet.