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I was looking at a Roscosmos news item Russian monitoring tools track the stage of the rocket that launched the module of the Chinese station about the reentering Long March 5B

This situation will not affect the territory of the Russian Federation. (all google translations)

but then poked around the same website and found the following images relating to Fidel Castro and the Cuban cosmonaut Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez.

These three images caught my interest, especially the one with what looks like it might be Fidel Castro sitting in an early spacecraft.

Question: Was Fidel Castro ever in a Soviet spacecraft? If so, which one? Is this it? When? Was he in or did he see any others?

Fidel Castro in the Soviet Union from https://www.roscosmos.ru/media/gallery/big/30966/3616544900.jpg

below: click for larger; the last one is from the same article (which I can no longer find).

Fidel Castro in the Soviet Union from https://www.roscosmos.ru/media/gallery/big/30966/5619957543.jpg Fidel Castro in the Soviet Union from https://www.roscosmos.ru/media/gallery/big/30966/5908725689.jpg

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Answer:

  • Yes.
  • Volga training simulator.
  • Almaz space station (either training mock up or real)
  • The pictures indicate he was inside Volga (Soyuz) and Almaz (Salyut-2).
  • June 1972.

Fidel Castro visited the Soviet Union as part of a whirlwind tour in 1972.

The simulator was used for practicing changing out optical elements used in procedures like docking.

Fidel was in the simulator, but donned only headgear, as he is still in his normal military clothing in the OP's photo.

Consider the following pictures:

Leonid Brezhnev and Fidel Castro at Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre, 14 June 1972

outside Soyuz trainer

They are outside the Volga training capsule (used for Soyuz training)

and

Leonid Brezhnev and Fidel Castro, 29 June 1972

inside salyut-2

I believe that they are actually standing inside the military space station Almaz (diamond)1, or at least a back up or training version.

Reason being is that early Salyuts did not carry the The Agat-1 photo-camera, which is the huge conical object that Castro is leaning on.

Almaz 1 was launched the following year in 1973.

Update: Extra picture research shows it is the same Salyut-2 (Almaz/OPS-1) military space station as seen in other photographs.

. . Additional pictures:

vladimir komarov

This is a photo of Vladimir Komarov who would later be lost in 1967.

Here he is training, and the early Soyuz control panel matches the one that Fidel Castro is sat at, in the OP's photo.

Pictures combined showing Almaz/Salyut-2 behind tour group.

combocastromultipic

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    $\begingroup$ Wow, thank you for all the research. deductive thought and "space detective" work! $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 10 at 0:50
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    $\begingroup$ Well, I fully stand by to backpedal furiously if I am wrong of course! :P btw, the bespectacled fellow in the color photo bottom left of your post seems to be the same chap holding Castro's attention on board Almaz. Perhaps his translator? $\endgroup$ – blobbymcblobby May 10 at 0:54

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