Xeni on The Madeleine Brand radio show: Russia's "Gaga-esque Gagarin Glitzothon" (audio)


I joined Madeleine Brand Show guest-host Alex Cohen today for a radio segment on my recent trip to Moscow with Miles O'Brien and his documentary crew, on the occasion of the 50 year anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first space flight. On April 12, 1961, aboard the Vostok 3KA-3, Gagarin became the first human ever to venture into space.

On the show today, we talked about the crazy Cosmonaut's Day celebration we attended inside the Kremlin; what space tourists do in space; why NASA has bought up seats on the Soyuz as our shuttle program ends, and we also chatted about weird Russian strawberry sushi and the amazing Soviet time capsule that is the Moscow metro. [Listen here, or download MP3 here].

Miles shot video of the military choir finale, with breakdancing cosmonaut cosplay kids. That video is embedded above, or here on YouTube. The good stuff starts around 1:39 in.

And below, a translated video of Russian President Medvedev's speech at the Kremlin event.

His speech begins around 2:00 into the video. Of note: under his administration, Russia has increased space spending, and is building a new cosmodrome in Russia (so they won't have to lease space at the Baikonur cosmodrome in neighboring Kazakhstan). This, as the US slashes NASA's budget and ends the shuttle program.

I ask you, fellow countrymen: where's our space gala and astronaut pride?

(photo and video in this post courtesy Miles O'Brien)