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The legendary Ball is back!

August 31, 2018

In the town of Korolev near Moscow a restored monument has been put up which depicts hands holding the Earth orb with a spacecraft orbiting it.

The monument has a tortuous and interesting history. Originally erected in 1980s, it was dedicated to the legendary docking in orbit of the Soviet Soyuz-19 and US Apollo in July of 1975. In order for the famous handshake in space between Thomas Stafford and Alexey Leonov to occur, specialists had to overcome a multitude of engineering challenges. A key role in the implementation of this ambitious international project belongs to RSC Energia.

The monument to space explorers was a favorite of the townspeople. They used to call it the Ball, the Globe, the Mitten and even a place where you could warm up your hands in space.

In 1996 the monument was dismantled for refurbishment, to be put back in place after a year. But when the time arrived, a very different installation was put in its place. On many occasions residents of Korolev appealed to the head of the town to bring the favorite Ball back.

There were long negotiations with the management of companies in the rocket and space industry about restoring the monument and putting it back in place.

The work on the restoration of the monument resumed only in 2016. TsNIIMash took upon itself the restoration of the remaining fragments of the monument and did the welding and sandblasting operations involved in the restoration of the mittens. Specialists of RSC Energia used the drawings that were recreated at TsNIIMash to build anew the lost key fragments of the monument, including the centerpiece representing Soyuz and Apollo.

It was just a week ago that Energia was given the task of restoring the monument and erecting it by the day of celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the town. It took the workers of Energias manufacturing plant ZEM a few days to restore the bas-relief showing the continents on the globe, which were cut out of stainless steel, molded, painted, burnished. Energia specialists also built a new platform for the monument and assisted in its mounting.

The townspeople of Korolev received a wonderful gift to mark the 80th anniversary of the town: thanks to joint efforts of Energia, TsNIIMash, an initiative group of the townspeople, the Ball -that symbol of friendship in space - is now back!

 

 

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