The international exhibition “Open Space”, which took place in the Republic of Lithuania in 2021, has ended. At the invitation of the Lithuanian Museum of Ethnocosmology, the Borys Paton State Polytechnic Museum at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (SPM) participated in the event. Among other participants from Ukraine, one could see the Serhiy Pavlovych Korolyov Museum of Cosmonautics in Zhytomyr.
The exhibition's opening took place in October 2020. It was timed to coincide with “Space Week 2020”. The display was open until October 2021. The exhibition was professional and modern, so it turned out to be entertaining and distinct for visitors and had great success among Lithuanians and tourists. Naturally, it attracted space professionals. Everyone could find something interesting and learn about the historical details from the history of space exploration. One could find out about the first earthlings to visit space orbits and see space devices in all their complexity, beauty, and perfection. Despite the quarantine restrictions, more than 24.5 thousand people visited the exhibition.
Lithuanian Museum of Ethnocosmology
In this context, it is worth telling about the Museum of Ethnocosmology which hosted the exhibition. Probably, there is no other like it anywhere in the world. It is built based on the Vilnius University Astronomical Observatory, founded in 1753, and located on a two-hundred-meter hill Kaltiniai, 60 kilometers north of Vilnius near the town of Moletai. The museum was opened to visitors in 1990. Initially, its funds included only astronomical instruments and devices (telescopes, etc.) and the first ethnographic exhibits. In the autumn of 1997, the telescope became operational.
Ten years later, the museum was reconstructed. According to the design project by R. Krishtapavichyus and A. Gudaitis, the metal-glass museum took the appearance of a spaceship from the future surrounded by forests and lakes. Such museum architecture embodies the image of a cosmic world tree. The complex components include an underground gallery with five halls (tree roots), an observatory tower (own tree) with a glass observation deck, and a telescope that together gives the impression of a dynamic structure facing the sky with its optical eye. The open-air outdoor exhibition with a model of the Sun and the planets of the solar system and an ancient wrought-iron sundial gives the impression of the integrity and perfection of the universe in its various manifestations.
Today the Museum of Ethnocosmology is one of the most attractive places for tourists in Lithuania. It is a modern cultural and educational center supplemented by new buildings. The concept of “ethnocosmology”, which presents the model of the Cosmic World by Lithuanianians, the system of communication with it, and respect for it, is apparent here. The exhibitions tell about ancient traditions and rites, modern scientific and philosophical theories showing the connection of a man with space. The museum also has a collection of meteorites fragments and space artifacts. In 2010, the museum began working with two night-vision telescopes. The arrangement is designed with modern video effects, which allows visitors to travel in time and dive into the world of space.
DPM at the Open Space Exhibition
The idea of the international exhibition “Open Space” was to show how significant the contribution of pioneers in the development of space research is. Ukraine's role is vital in this context. Hence, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, which was and is a strong forge of personnel for the space industry. The invitation from Lithuanian colleagues to take part in the exhibition was not accidental, as they knew that the section “Cosmonautics” at the State Polytechnic Museum at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute includes original exhibits collected by veterans of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, donated by rocket launchers, specialists of the cosmonaut training center and the astronauts - Pavel Popovich (the first cosmonaut of Ukrainian origin), Alexei Leonov, the first in history outer space) and others.
For the exhibition in Lithuania, the SPM staff selected eighteen exhibits from the museum's funds. Among them is the model of the Vostok launch vehicle engine, the gyroscope unit and the Soyuz launch vehicle engine, the space sextant, the ORM-52 experimental liquid rocket engine, the software current distributor of the launch vehicle control system, and filling connection for refueling rockets, the wing element of the orbiter “Buran” with heat shields, a set of tools for work in space, onboard antenna of the spacecraft “Space 01550”, the everyday uniform of an astronaut pilot, twice Hero of the Soviet Union aviation P.R. Popovich, a medical suite for training the astronaut's muscles after returning from space, etc.
In addition to exhibits, the Lithuanian exhibition got numerous rare photos, which reproduced the historical events of the beginning of the space age. These are photos of the Baikonur Cosmodrome (Vostok launch vehicle with the first artificial satellite of the Earth at launch (1957), preparations for the launch of the Soyuz launch vehicle (1984). There is also the Carrier rocket “Energy” with the spacecraft “Buran” at the launch (1988), and photos-stories about people (the first Soviet cosmonaut from Ukraine Pavel Popovich goes on a flight to the spacecraft “East-4” Baikonur, August 12, 1962), the arrival of Pavel Popovich at the spaceport to participate in the second flight into space on the ship “Soyuz-14”. You can see a photo of the crew of the spacecraft “Voskhod-2” (Pavel Belyayev and Alexei Leonov) with the first cosmonaut pilot of the USSR Yuri Gagarin (before space flight, Baikonur, March 1965), and a photo of the cosmonaut pilot of the USSR Alexei Leonov reporting on space travel at a meeting of the State Committee - mission (Baikonur, March 1965). Besides, there is a picture of Alexei Leonov in the Soyuz-19 spacecraft preparing for a joint flight under the Soyuz-Apollo program, the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, March 1975). Among them are photos of astronauts visiting Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. They include a photo in which the first cosmonaut of independent Ukraine, Hero of Ukraine Leonid Kadenyuk and cosmonaut pilot, twice Hero of the Soviet Union Alexei Leonov visit the State Polytechnic Museum of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (March 14, 2010); a photo in which Alexei Leonov presents his painting to Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Rector Michael Zgurovsky during a meeting with students and teachers of the University (March 14, 2010). And there are many more ...
The SPM exhibits, which were part of the exhibition in Lithuania, once again proved that Ukraine was, is, and will be a space state with a rich past and significant potential for the future.
On October 18, 2021, the exhibits went back to the Department of Aviation and Astronautics of the SPM. Based on the exhibition results, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute got proposals to cooperate with Vilnius University and Vilnius Gediminas Technical University.