Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center - Formation

Formation

The facility was originally known only as Military Unit 26266 or в/ч 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. The densely forested area was originally a radar range with some existing infrastructure.

Military physician Colonel Yevgeny Karpov was appointed as the first chief of the cosmonaut training centre or Tsentr Podgotovki Kosmonavtov (TsPK) on February 24, 1960. The centre was home to approximately 250 personnel divided into various departments who were responsible for the development of all aspects of the space program ranging from equipment to the well being of the cosmonauts. These included specialists in heat exchange and hygiene, survival clothing, surgery, and training staff. Initially cosmonaut candidates were housed at the nearby Frunze Central Airfield (Moscow), followed by an apartment block in Chkalovsky before eventually moving to the newly built apartments on site where they would remain with their families throughout training.

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