Over 50 years ago, the first man was strapped into a rocket and shot into outer space.

The Star City military research facility in Russia was one of the most top secret locations in the Soviet Union before the fall of communism. The Yuri Gagarin Russian State Science Research Cosmonauts Training Center is still a military research center and consists of a training facility and a residential area for cosmonauts and their families.

Generations of cosmonauts have trained in these surroundings, and because of the secrecy and insularity of this world, the physical space and its spirit have been preserved — and remain relatively unchanged to this date.

In this age of remote-control drones and Google Earth, this time capsule of the "future" reminds us how far we've come in half a century — and how heroic these pioneers were, with faith in slide-rule science and untested mechanical equipment as they catapulted into the unknown.

— Jim Casper