Inside the Russian Space Program

Our behind-the-scenes exploration of the Russian space program features a VIP viewing of the manned launch of a Soyuz spacecraft.

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 Russian cosmonauts  Moscow's Red Square, a World Heritage site  St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow  Moscow in the evening  The raising of the rocket ceremony  Preparing for the launch of a Soyuz rocket  A Soyuz spacecraft  A Soyuz rocket in flight  Spectators at a launch  Smithsonian Journeys travelers at launch site  A group of Smithsonian Journeys travelers  A Russian cosmonaut waves to onlookers  The ISS Crew Press Conference at the Cosmonaut Hotel  Cold War Museum Bunker, Moscow  ISS crew members at the Cosmonaut Hotel's press conference  Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Star City   The Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center  The Mir Space Station Simulator at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center  The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, where crews acquire skills for operations on the external surface of the orbital station under simulated weightless conditions.


Cathleen Lewis

Cathleen Lewis

May 14 - 22, 2016

Cathleen Lewis is curator of International Space Programs and Spacesuits at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, specializing in Soviet and Russian programs. Lewis curates Soviet and Russian components of the Space Race exhibition at the Museum. She also has interests in the history of astrobiology and the history of African Americans in aviation and spaceflight. Between 1998-2007 she chaired the museum-wide Collections Committee. In the past, Lewis was chief curator in the development process for a new gallery, Dream to Fly. Her current research is on the history of the public and popular culture of Russian fascination with the idea of human spaceflight in the Soviet Union. She has written about the artifacts in the Smithsonian’s Soviet and Russian collection and has published articles comparing the Soviet and American approaches to exhibiting spaceflight during the Space Race and the history of film portrayals of spaceflight prior to Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight. She is also working on a comparative history of the development of American and Russian spacesuits.

Lewis completed both a bachelor's and a master's degree in Russian and East European Studies at Yale University and completed her dissertation for her PhD in history at George Washington University in 2008. (Her dissertation was on "The Red Stuff: A History of the Public and Material Culture of Early Human Spaceflight in the USSR, 1959-1968.")