The name "Star City" was fist mentioned in the early 1960's when the birth of the manned space-flight program in the USSR required the creation of a specialized cosmonaut training facility. After the decision of the Air Force Commander-in-Chief who ordered the establishment of a CTC (Cosmonaut Training Center) on January 11, 1960, the Y. A. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center received its name in 1968 after the first earth's cosmonaut. In 1995, in order to increase efficiency of utilizing Russia's scientific and technical potential in manned space flights and cosmonaut training, the Cosmonaut Training Center and Air Force Test and Training Regiment were merged and became the "Y.A.Gagarin State Scientific Research-and-Testing Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC)."
In the 1960's, the first cosmonauts, space scientists and their families lived in a small neighborhood settlement near Cosmonaut Training Center. Since then, Star City has been growing along with the expansion of the space program. Currently, the population of Star City is around 6 thousand people and 70% of them still work in the space field.
The city consisted of two parts, the training facility itself and a small residential area for military and civilian personnel serving the facility, as well as cosmonauts and their families. In the Soviet times, the town was a top-secret and well-guarded installation shut-off from the rest of the country and the world.
It is very difficult to say how the name "Star City" appeared. Millions of Soviet people could see TV reports from Star City but nobody knew where the town was! Information about it stopped being secret only in the early 90's but it was still impossible to find on the maps.
When you walk in Star City you have a feeling that you are in the town of your dreams. It is a clean and neat town without any outdoor advertising, markets or traffic jams. There are wide streets surrounded by old trees, the lakes are well-stocked with fish, there are thick pine forests and friendly people and lots of children.
The Yuri Gagarin's monument was erected in 1971 in honor of the first man into space and placed in the central square of the town. There is a legend that the big flower in Yuri Gagarin's hand was placed there for his widow who still lives in the house across the street of the monument. The official ceremony of retrieving the cosmonauts and returning them home from the space always starts near this monument.
By the turn of the 21st century, the situation in Star City has been changing... the Russian Air Force managed to dump responsibility for its management and funding of Star City onto the civic administration. As people in Star City say: "Space is not a challenge anymore it is just hard work!"
See tours in Star City:
Space fligt simulator
and more space adventure tours