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In the early 1960s, the Soviet Union was way ahead of the United States in the space race. They launched the first artificial satellite of earth, Sputnik 1, in 1957 and then launched the first man into space, Yuri Gagarin, in 1961. To celebrate the two great victories and the achievement of the Soviet Union in space exploration, the Russians decided to erect something big. Indeed, plans for a monument had begun three years before Yuri Gagarin even left earth.

In March 1958, just five months after the successful launch of Sputnik 1, a design competition was organized. After sorting through more than 350 submissions, the design that was chosen and finally built is that of a large obelisk depicting an exhaust plume. At its apex is a rocket. The monument is 110 meters tall, and leans on to one side at an angle of 77°. It is cladded by a suit of titanium —a metal of high tensile strength and high resistance to corrosion. In fact, many critically structural parts of spaceships are made of alloy of this very metal.

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Photo credit: jaime.silva/Flickr (left), reibai/Flickr (right)

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.


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