A Look Inside Russia's Star City, Where Cosmonauts Are Made

Wired has a great feature on Richard Garriott, the father of MMORPG OG Ultima and the latest millionaire to get blasted up to the ISS as a paying tourist. More specifically, the gruelling 8 months of training Garriott must first endure at Zvyozdny Gorodok, (Star City), a.k.a. Yuri's house, a.k.a. where space flight was born. All tourists on the ISS must be capable of performing mission-critical duties in the case of an emergency, and Wired followed Garriott through the historic site every step of the way, grabbing fantastic photos of this incredibly historic facility in the process.

All photos by Benedict Redgrove:

Inside Star City you'll find Gagarin idols everywhere, full-size Soyuz mockups (top), massive Cold War era centrifuges and, often, no hot water. It is here where Space Adventures travellers like Garriott must learn to perform nearly every task that the mission's actual cosmonauts will perform, in case of emergencies (even though the most glamorous duty he'll probably end up doing is emptying the toilet).

And, eventually face this (emphasis my own):

All this is nothing compared with the TsF-18 centrifuge. Weighing 300 tons and measuring 59 feet long, it looks like a giant blue phallus. It spins at 170 miles per hour, and riders are instructed not to open their mouth while in motion because the pressure will break their jaw, according to Driga. "It is like nightmare," she adds. "Imagine being buried deep in sand and wanting to move but cannot."

Many more photos and a really nice read at: [Wired]

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