The National Museum of History’s Space Collection is a unique for the Bulgarian citizens. The exhibits were acquired in the 1980s with the cooperation of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the National Committee for Space Exploration and Research.
The collection consists of 28 inventory - number sets with a total of 109 fund items. The exhibits can be provisionally divided into three groups: space suits, space devices and instruments, and space food. By rights, materials included in other museum collections such as postcards as well as envelopes issued on special occasions, table medals and badges, photos, placards, documents and periodicals belong to the above – mentioned materials.
Georgi Ivanov launched into space on board of the Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 33 in April 1979 with Nikolay Rukavishnikov. The Ivanov – Rukavishnikov mission made Bulgaria the world’s sixth country to send a citizen in outer space. Most of the exhibits of the Space Collection are related to that mission. Undoubtedly, the most interesting item among them is the Bulgarian cosmonaut’s flight space suit.
The collection also includes his various training suits used by Ivanov: immersion suit with a floating device, anti – gravity suit and a five – piece thermal protection suit consisting of a jacket, breeches, leather leggings, gloves and headgears.
The National Museum of History keeps the parachute system of the Soyuz 33 descent module, the Kolos drinking water canteen and the spacecraft’s portable emergency kit: a wooden case with essential supplies needed by the crew to survive after landing, such as smoke flares, a radio transmitter, portable first – aid kits, medical sensors, an anti – freezing ointment, and others.
The museum also owns three replicas, made by the designers themselves, of space instruments developed by Bulgarian researchers and experts of the Central Laboratory for Space Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Those instruments performed successfully at various stages of the long – term Intercosmos Programme.
The collection keeps samples of food that was included in the space diet of the Bulgarian space explorers. The food was developed by the Central Laboratory of Cryobiology and Lyophilisation in 1979 and 1988. Bulgaria is the world’s third country to make space food products with a specific purpose.
For several years the most attractive exhibits of the Space Collection of the National Museum of History are being displayed in the Museum of Aviation in Krumovo, a village near Plovdiv.