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Excursions - Moscow tour



translated by Mathilda: Today the 108 students from Russia, Ukraine, Germany, the Czech Republic and Canada got invited to a sightseeing tour through Moscow. After some lunch they started off to the largest Russian space-travel museum at the SpaceUnion Exhbition. Just the gigantic rocket alone on its even bigger tail impresses everyone. The museum was built in the depth and was opened on 12th April 1981 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Juri Gagarin’s flight. It so happened, that on this day also the first Space Shuttle took off. What then was thought to be a provocation is now a godsend – Russia and the USA have a common Space Remembrance Day. Who would have thought?

But first the students get handed out participation certificates by the organizer. Everyone gets one labeled ‘Grammota’. Many have glowing eyes now. The certificates are rare evidence for a special achievement and are highly regarded in the native schools. Each of the lucky ones has now won a place at the ‘table of the bests’ and therefor recognition by teachers and future applications. Will our students at home also view it like that?


At the entrance the museum director welcomes us personally. He is the former cosmonaut Alexander Lasutkin. He stands there with the medal ‘Hero of Russia’ and shakes our hands. Lasutkin spent many hundred days on the Space station MIR and trained for the ISS. Due to health reasons however, the young father had to quit the hard training in 2004. Today he encourages future generations, answers questions, shows the technology and drives extreme-excursions to the rocket launch site in Baikonur with small groups.

The kids are stuck to his lips when they are allowed to listen to him in the main auditorium. Sovereign and with the outmost respect he answers even the craziest question of the students. Unfortunately all of this is happening in Russian – not English. Evegeniy translates eagerly. Afterwards the exhibited aircraft can be admired. All is clean and polished to a high gloss. This museum is nothing less like the ones in Huntsville and Washington and yet it bears completely different devices. There are the moonrover ‘Lonochod’, the Russian moon rockets, the probes ‘Luna’, ‘Venere’ and ‘Mars’, and the countless Russian space stations of ‘Almaz’, to ‘Salut’, to ‘MIR’ and ‘ISS’. This history of space travel is at least as impressive as those in Huntsville and Washington.


The cosmonaut Alexnader Lasutkin patiently endures the many autograph and picture requests of the students. Then he politely says goodbye. I follow him together with our students. At one point where we won’t be spoted by autograph hunters he politely turns around and winks at me with his right eye. Now our students understand him as well; he speaks English. Nadin and Araceli get right to the point: ‘Under a lot of troubles we have brought a NASA-moonbuggy here to Moscow. Last year, it was exhibited next to the Apollo Moon Rover in the Space Museum of Huntsville. It is now time that the same happens also in this museum. Here is the Russian Moon Rover. It would be a gesture and an invitation to our generation and the future.’


Lasutkin buries his face in both palms: ‚Girls, you know what kind of a wish that is? This is a state museum and for such a permit I would have to make a lot of calls.’ Nadin responds casually: ‘Well, if it is nothing more!’ and laughs. Lasutkin thinks and says: ‘Well let’s see.’

It’s the way of the students to give themselves purposeful and determined, to see problems playful and as a challenge, and not to be afraid to speak up. This behavior is contagious. It is the spirit and the inspiration for us, the adult generation, to work for the future. Without it, nothing would be possible.

We are now planning to leave the Moonbuggy after the Airshow in Moscow – to be on hold for an exhibition in the biggest Russian museum for cosmonauts. This I take to immediately contact the German School Moscow and to the Embassy Department of Education and Culture. We set the dates for the day after the next.

In the evening our small group enjoys the SpaceUnion Exhibition. It is a historical exhibition center with many pretty ornate halls, a park and a sprawling area for rides, stalls and outdoor seating. In its center there is a Gargarin-Rocket. In the evening light, we take beautiful pictures of it. The day ends eventful and gimpy.


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Student reports - 2013



Our day today started pretty early at 7 o’clock with a Russian breakfast. The food was neither bread nor cornflakes, no, we got pasta. That was kind of unusual for me but all in all very funny.

For our trip to MAKS we needed between 2 and 3 hours. It didn’t take us that long, because the place is so far away, but it took us that long because of all the traffic.

When we arrived we did not have much time to prepare. We provide the Moonbuggy on the right place, some posters mounted on a small wall exhibition, bound Prof. Dr. von Puttkamer´s NASA flag and then we went out. Now the Secret Service came and went through the whole pavilion for possible weapons. But it was found none. Thus, our Pavilion "Ot Vinta" was released, but still strictly guarded. In a few minutes the prime minister Dmitry Medvedev is expected to arrive.



While we waited, we had a look at the tables from the other students, too. They had very smart inventions and ideas. A lot of them have built little planes by themselves. The guys were very polite and funny but without our Russian genius Evgeniy, we wouldn’t have been able to talk to the students there. Not many are speaking English.

Ralf waved inside someone and I thought that's the minister. But both were very friendly to each other, so could not be that. To my surprise, the man spoke a clean German and introduced himself as Prof. Wörner. He was very friendly and sat down to set at our Moon Buggy. We made a small talk. When he went back Ralf said: "This was the head of the DLR". Now I was thrilled as a scientist with my proof of an exoplanet and was speechless.



After a while, the time had come, and Medvedev went in direction to our marquee. But unfortunately, he didn’t have enough time anymore to come in and watch the ideas of young students. So we just got the possibility for a short group photo with him and then he went on. Of course, this was a little disappointment, but still we were glad to see him. I stood 6 feet away from the former Russian president, in the cries of other children. The students were amazed and he could be signing their hats. Ralf was the only photographer in the right line and made in the short time all the perfect photos. He was then wooed by the festival head to this photos. Shortly before she wanted to kick him out if he had only touched the camera. Amazing!


Since we didn’t have any stress anymore then, we spent some time to watch other parts of MAKS. The most special thing was of course the airplane show, where all the new planes showed what they can. That was a very loud issue, but though great! After we already hurt the ears, it was time for withdrawal. So we went to the pavilion. There, the other contestants were waiting for the buses. But the buses were stuck in traffic. So we picked out our Moon buggy and invited the Russian kids for a ride on it. That could not be said that 2 times. Araceli (our 15 years old female driver) had to do a whole hour to satisfy all the desires of more than 100 students. The Moonbuggy was next to a propeller buggy one of the most striking cars at MAKS.



all photos by Ralf Heckel, more here (click)


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Student reports - 2013


moscowAfter an exhausting arriving on Sunday, we enjoyed our first excursion by bus, today. Our travel was accompanied by some police cars that enabled our busses, to cross red traffic lights and go fast. I’ve never seen something like that and didn’t even know that this is possible for usual students.

The “Historian Air Museum of Russia”, where we have been, is a site with an infinite mass of planes. The tour guide explained us a lot about some single ones. We even had the chance to watch some secret airplanes. It was very interesting to see the big airliners, helicopters or also the first version of a Russian space shuttle. We spent hours there.

photos of the russian Airmuseum in Monino

Additionally to us, all the other members of the contest joined us on the tour. For them, it was very special to see some German foreigners on the competition. Since we wear our blue space suits with the NASA symbol, they all wanted to take a photo with us. We felt like some celebrities and didn’t have any time to stop our photo smile. That was pretty cute.



After tour and lunch, we had the chance for some “Typical-Tourist-Sightseeing”. So we went to the Red Square and watched the “St. Basils”, which is the most popular church of Russia, from the inside. It’s a very beautiful building, in fact the most beautiful one in Moscow, I think.

Also, we spent a while in the biggest shopping mall of Moscow and used this time to honor our main sponsor and go to a Bruno Banani shop in there and say hello. The sellers were very friendly and let us take some photos with them. We really liked it there.

All in all, we had a very exciting and relaxed day, today. We all enjoyed it a lot and took some really nice pictures. I hope the next days will go on like this. It was great!

Dim lights


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Excursions - Moscow tour


Due to an invitation of the Russian government, the two pilots of the NASA Moonbuggy Team Leipzig arrived in Moscow, today. Araceli Zeller (15, Titisee-Neustadt) and Nadin Rößler (19, Chemnitz) represent the German aerospace youth on the airshow “MAKS 2013” in Russia. The MAKS is similar to the ILA in Berlin. The youth festival “Ot Vinta” ("Off, we go" or "Let’s go"), which is organized by the Russian government, is supposed to bring young people together before their studies and inspire them for the aerospace as well as for science. The German participation is a novelty that makes the organizers of MAKS particularly proud.

moscowbuggyIn April 2013, our both girls participated very successfully on the NASA Moonbuggy Race in Alabama and brought their Moonbuggy in 6 suitcases to Moscow. The invitation to Moscow is an honor. Just for this competition, the contracting partner of Porsche “Sattlerei Kübler” (saddlery) manufactured leather seats for the buggy in the national colors of Russia. Today afternoon, after a sleeping consuming night flight and a complicated logistic for the transport of the Moonbuggy, the two girls assembled the vehicle in Hotel “BETA”. They were accompanied and guided by the Russian aerospace engineer Evgeniy Zakutin.


In den nächsten Tagen steht ein aufwendiges Programm auf dem Plan. So werden beide Mädels ihren Moonbuggy vor dem Premierminister Russlands Dimitri Medwedjew vorstellen und gegen 108 weitere Teilnehmer verteidigen müssen. Besuche in zahlreichen Museen der Luft- und Raumfahrt sowie natürlich auf der Airshow machen das Programm spannend. Kosmonautenbesuche und der Besuch bei der Familie des Sputnik-Konstrukteurs Koroljow werden von uns in der 2. Wochenhälfte selbst organisiert.

Bereits während der Montage der Exponate heute im Hotel war abzusehen, dass die vielen Teilnehmer zwischen 12-18 Jahren ein Auge auf die beiden deutschen Girls geworfen haben. Man lässt sich gern im eigenen Space Look mit ihnen fotografieren und das Moonbuggy erklären. Die Sprache ist keine Hürde. Die Schülerinnen verstehen sich auch mit Händen und Füßen prächtig.


Monday: Visit at the russian state airmuseum in Monino, Moscow sight seeing
Tuesday: Airshow MAKS, presentation of the Moonbuggy to primeminister Dimitry Medvedev (
Wednesday: visit at the russian museum of cosmonautics (with russian rover "Lunokhod")
Thuersday: freetime at the Airshow MAKS, meetings with schools, students and principals
Friday: visit the family Korolev at home (Sergey Korolev - Sputnik-designer)
Weekend: diassembly of the Moonbuggy, flight to Germany

uniformsassemblyInvestitionen in die Jugend – Ihre Chance auf eine Zukunft:

Das Jugendfestival auf der Airshow MAKS wird von der russischen Regierung finanziert. Die Anreise- und Transportkosten muss wie bei NASA-Veranstaltungen die eigeladene Seite selbst bezahlen. Bis zur heutigen Ankunft in Moskau konnte sich noch kein deutsches Unternehmen oder Verband der Branche für eine Förderung dieses einzigen deutschen Teams entscheiden. Aus diesem Grund finanzierten die Gründer des Trägervereins Yvonne und Ralf Heckel die Reisekosten in Höhe von 2500 Euro aus eigener Tasche, weil dies eine Pflicht an der Jugend ist. Im Moment ist das Moonbuggy in Moskau noch ohne Sponsoren ausgestattet. Es kann die Fläche auf dem nach vorn geneigten 4 Schutzblechen und den Rückseiten der Sitze gemietet werden. In 2 Tagen wird alles wirksam der Öffentlichkeit vorgestellt. Der Einstieg beginnt bei 500 Euro/Schutzblech. Der Betrag kann auch in Form einer Spende an den Verein erbracht werden. Wenden Sie sich bis zum heutigen Abend des 26.8.2013 an: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it oder per SMS an +49 172 7949375

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Professions - Science
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femkalkLehrmittelkonstrukteur (m/w)
Leipzig, Moskau, Huntsville/AL

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