Doroga k zvezdam (1957) - full transcript

A groundbreaking popular science fiction film about the past and future of astronautics, from the first experiments by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky to the manned spaceflight and colonization of the Moon.


Man has walked the hard path
of knowledge on his planet.

He has always wanted to get
where he has not been,

and to know what was not yet known.

Man has set off on a distant voyage
despite the grave dangers.

He has conquered the poles,

gone high above the clouds,

descended into the deep.

Overcoming innumerable difficulties.

He has found the way to the
innermost recesses of nature,

penetrated into living cells

and the structure of atoms.

He seeks to unravel
the mysteries of the Universe,

to become conscious of himself.

But never before has the man broken away
from his planet.

And now the time has come

when he took the first step
over the threshold of his home.

It is obvious.
The man has grown.

The world's first artificial satellite
has been created.

"Earth is the cradle of humanity,
but one cannot live in a cradle forever." Tsiolkovsky

We start with a story about
this great and humble scientist.

The end of the 19th century,

remote Russian province,
pious merchant city of Kaluga.

Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky
works as a teacher in a primary school.

Serious childhood illness
has made him almost deaf for life.

Communicating with people
became difficult.

He had to undergo a self-taught course
in High School and then in the University.

But more than deafness,

the difference in interests alienated
Tsiolkovsky from his milieu.

People did not understand him
and considered eccentric.

The province,
separated from centres of science,

lacked books and magazines,
as well as educated people.

He had to learn everything by himself.

And he had a great thirst for action.

He wanted to improve people's lives.

New concepts, startling in their boldness,
arose in the mind of the humble teacher:

to break away from the Earth,

to fly into the outer space,

to use the energy of the Sun.

Tsiolkovsky found listeners
only among children

who were avid for everything
unusual, interesting and new.

Tell me, children, can one go to the moon
in a balloon?

In a balloon? Of course not.


Because the balloon moves only in the air,

and the air can be found only here -
around the Earth.

Further, there is no air -
only a void.

But this is only one reason.

There is one more.
- What is it?


I throw a stone up in the air
and it comes back down.

Why is that?

I don't know.

Please, be seated.

Earth draws to itself
stones and water,

and keeps us close as captives.

On the ground,
one can move as one likes,

but one cannot make a step off the Earth.

If one pushes oneself off the Earth,
it returns one back from the void.

Do not fly to the moon.

And no way to escape?

The gravity can be overcome...

The gravity can be overcome with speed.

One has to fly away from the Earth
faster than it can draw one back.

This velocity was calculated by Newton.

The Earth draws a stone to itself
by five meters per second.

The Earth is spherical.

Within the distance of 8 kilometres,

the surface of the Earth deviates
from the plane by 5 meters.

If a stone crosses these eight kilometres
in one second,

it will descend by the same amount as
the Earth's surface deviated from the plane.

A stone, thrown with such speed,

will fly neither approaching
the ground nor moving away from it.

It it will spin around the Earth.

This is so-called "circular velocity".

A stone thrown with even greater speed

will move around in an ellipse.

Finally, for the escape velocity
of 11km per second

a stone will leave the Earth forever.

What tremendous speed.

Ten times greater than
the velocity of an artillery shell.

Jules Verne knew these numbers.

He placed the characters
of his novel in a shell

and shot them from a huge cannon
cast directly in the ground.

Wonderful fantasy...

But no cannon using gunpowder can
give orbital velocity to a projectile.

Besides, people inside the projectile,
would be killed by a sudden jolt.

A projectile won't do.

We need a ship that could
gain speed gradually

and go wherever we want
there, in the void.

But there is nothing
to push off from in the void.

There is no land, no water and no air.

I'll show you from what
one can push off from in the void.

That support for pushing off from
has to be taken up there also.

I don't understand.

You can to push off from any object,

from any substance
that has weight or mass.

We are motionless now.

Now look.

I push off from one oar.

From the other oar...

What are you doing?

From the anchor...

...from the bench...

...from the bucket...

...from the umbrella...
- Konstantin Eduardovich.

Well? Are we moving or not?

We are moving. Indeed we are.

Which was to be demonstrated.

In the void,
one can only move in this way;

throwing back a portion of your mass.

This is recoil, reaction,

Newton's Third Law:

"To every action there is always
opposed an equal reaction."

Note how a cannon recoils when firing.

A cannon...

Might one fly to the moon
riding a cannon?

If we imagine a cannon hanging in the void,

after firing it will move
in the opposite direction.

If firing again, it will fly faster.

Shooting over and over again the cannon
can be accelerated to reach high speed.

The solution is somewhere very close.


A rocket.

A rocket, known for hundreds of years.

Instead of shells,
it throws back a gas stream.

Gases push off from a rocket,
and vice versa

and they fly in opposite directions.

Gases backwards, and a rocket - forward.

A rocket needs no air for support -
the latter only hinders the flight.

But can a rocket develop cosmic velocity?

I must do the calculations and
formulate the law of its motion.

The formula of a rocket's movement.

A rocket can increase
its speed infinitely,

everything depends on the supply of fuel.

What yesterday was still a fantasy...

now has a solid foundation
of mathematical calculations.

A rocket.

This is a genuine ship of the universe.

It will be a huge rocket.

Gunpowder is not suitable.

We must take a more efficient fuel,
such as gasoline with liquid oxygen.

Liquid fuel is generally more convenient.

It can be fed into the
combustion chamber via pumps.

In front of the rocket,
there will be a cabin for passengers.

In order to cool the sheathing,

it needs double walls, which liquid oxygen
will pass through prior to combustion.

The stream of gases requires rudders
made of a refractory material.

Then the ship will be controllable.

And it has to be controlled automatically.

Tsiolkovsky worked on his paper
for several years.

This was the beginning of a
new science - Astronautics.

His paper was published in 1903

and was entitled "The Exploration of Cosmic
Space by Means of Reaction Devices".

How tremendous are the opportunities
opened up to the mankind by

departure into space.

Colonisation of space.

Life without gravity,

Visits to other planets...

But these dreams

were so hopelessly distant
from real life...

"Rootless fantasist",

"crazy dreamer",

"who needs your reaction devices?"

"What do you want?
To be heard in St. Petersburg?"

But the official science of Tsarist Russia

turned her back to the Russian genius.

It bowed subserviently before Europe.

Tsiolkovsky wrote then:

"The main driving force of my life

is to do something useful for people.

Not to live my life in vain, but to advance
the humanity forward at least a little bit.

That's why I has taken interest in what
doesn't give me neither bread nor power.

But I hope that maybe soon, maybe
in the distant future, my work

will give the society mountains
of bread and plenty of power..."

Tsiolkovsky persisted in his hard work.

After all, the flight into space
is possible so far only in theory.

A number of assumptions have been made:

the best fuel, extremely durable
and lightweight materials,

very high combustion temperatures.

Technology is still very far from that...

The main difficulty lies in the fact

that a space rocket needs a lot of fuel.

A rocket having less fuel
has already spent it.

The second one continues to gain speed.

But it has run out of fuel too.

And the cosmic velocity is not yet reached.

What to do?

In his declining years,
Tsiolkovsky solves this problem also.

He puts together multiple rockets
to form a train.

He makes a composite rocket.

In the beginning,
it's the first rocket's turn.

When the fuel runs out,

the rocket gets detached, saving the train
from excess weight, and returns to Earth.

The second one continues
to gain speed.

The last one still has full tanks

and the speed is already above
four kilometres per second. A bit more...

And the cosmic velocity will be reached.

"The mankind will not remain
on the Earth forever,

but in the pursuit of light and space,

it will, at first, timidly emerge from
the bounds of the atmosphere,

and then advance until it has conquered
the whole of the circumsolar space."

Professor Oberth wrote to Tsiolkovsky:

"You have lit the fire
and we will not let it go out.

We will make every effort to fulfil
the greatest dream of the mankind."

Tens, hundreds, and then
thousands of enthusiasts

started practical work
on rocket technology.

With the help of the dynamo-meter they
measured the thrust of powder rockets,

then tried to adapt powder rockets
to movement on the ground.

Austrian pilot and astronomer Valier's
rocket sledge

attained the speed of 100 km per hour
with a passenger

and 400 km per hour without
a passenger. It was spectacular.

But for land transport the use
of rockets proved impractical.

The assault of heights began.

It resembled a war;

there were loud explosions,

and people were dying...

During the test of
the liquid-propellant jet engine

interplanetary travel enthusiast
Max Valier died.

German engineer Reinhold Tiling
died in his laboratory.

But the goal was too ambitious,
too tempting...

New enthusiasts were building new rockets.

In 1929, for the first time in the world,

American professor Goddard's
rocket flew into the sky.

And in 1933, our country
tested its first rocket.

The rocket created by "G.S.R.M." -

the group of study of rocket motion.

The participants of the first start
were nervous.

Will the rocket take off or not?

Will it have enough power
to push off from the Earth?

Here the rocket is being filled with
gasoline and liquid oxygen.

Everyone moves away, but not too far.

They want to get a better view.

Oxygen pressure is slowly increasing...

Finally thirteen atmospheres.

The valve can be opened.

Clear props.

A flame appears.

The rocket roars but doesn't move.

Will it take off or not?

They wanted to run up to the rocket
and help it to push off.

But it wasn't necessary.

The rocket's further fate depended
on solving multiple problems...

Better rocket fuel had to be found,

as well as heat-resistant
materials for the engine.

It also required light but durable
materials for the rocket itself,

provision of control automatics,

and lightening of the design
to increase the supply of fuel.

Achievements of many sciences,

and many branches of engineering

have helped to create
a modern space rocket.

Instruments are located in its front part.

The main volume is
occupied by fuel tanks.

The rocket engine is in the tail part.

The turbine rotates the fuel pumps,

which continuously feed fuel and
oxidizer into the combustion chamber.

The products of combustion are emitted
through the nozzle with great speed.

Rudders are placed on either side
of the gas stream.

Modern propellants do not allow
a single rocket to go higher than 250 km.

Tsiolkovsky's idea about
a composite rocket came into play.

The two-stage rocket with a top speed of
up to 3 kps went up as high as 400 km.

The multi-stage rocket goes up to
over 1,000 meters above ground.

It is able to overcome the distance
between any two points on the globe

and even to develop the circular velocity -
to become a satellite of the Earth.

A new celestial body created by the
hands of the Soviet people,

appeared in the sky on Oct. 4, 1957.

Radio signals of this "small moon"

informed the world of
the beginning of a new era -

an era of interplanetary travel.

For an hour and a half Sputnik makes
one full circle around the Earth.

Now it is flying over Moscow...

In ten seconds, it crosses India...

And in another twenty-five minutes,
it will be seen far in the Antarctic -

on the other side of the globe.

Observations of Sputnik are carried out
in different parts of the Earth.

Its flight is marked by
chronographs and mapped.

Due to the rotation of the Earth,

Sputnik makes each next circle over
new sections of the Earth's surface,

giving scientists a huge amount
of invaluable scientific data.

Tsiolkovsky said: "First, inevitably,
the idea, the fantasy, the fairy tale.

Then, scientific calculation.
Ultimately, fulfilment crowns the dream."

Brilliant realisation of
Tsiolkovsky's ideas is under way.

Let us look into the future.

Soon, the hour will come,

after centuries of waiting -

the hour of the humanity's first flight
into interplanetary space.

These three will be the first to fly.

The spaceship: the result of work
of tens of thousands of people;

hundreds of enterprises;
multiple academies; institutes;

design offices; laboratories.

Today, each of those involved,

is sending their own small part
of this ship into space.

Carefully and cautiously,
a man enters into an unknown world.

The first flight is a test flight.

Today, the cosmonauts will spend only a few
hours in space, flying around the Earth.

It's necessary to check how
people will feel during a space flight.

It's also necessary to check how all
the mechanisms and devices perform.


I'll give the signal.

Well, comrades, let's begin.

Five minutes before take-off.

The man has finished his work.

Now, automatic machines
will do the rest.

Machines will turn on the engines.

Machines will, at first, also control
the ship in flight.

One minute before take-off.


The ship picks up speed.

Acceleration creates overload.

The cosmonauts feel
a growing increase of their weight.

Great weight forces them into their seats.

Deprives them of mobility.

Overcoming the atmospheric drag,

the ship is already moving
twice as fast as an artillery shell.

Fuel ran out in the
first stage of the ship.

it will return to the Earth.

The ship's rudders
operate automatically,

gradually moving it
into the desired orbit.

The speed continues to increase.

6 kilometres per second.

So hard. It seems that
the Earth is using all its strength

trying to return
the escaping prisoners.

The second stage has got detached.

Due to inertia, the ship moves higher
and higher, approaching the desired orbit.

The engines turn on for the third time.

The velocity reaches circular.

The engine has stopped.

Free flight has begun.

The ship has become a celestial body.

It now revolves around the Earth,

in non-atmospheric vacuum, at the
altitude of over 1.000 kilometres.

But what is it?
People are flying?

Certainly, for the gravity has disappeared.

So what has happened? Where has
the weightlessness come from?

We are used to seeing people

fall to the floor after jumping,
due to the Earth's gravity.

But if the cabin starts falling at the same
time, a person can't reach the floor.

They will remain suspended in the air.
They will be weightless.

This is what's happened with the ship.

After shutting off the engines,
it becomes a free-falling body,

together with the cosmonauts inside.

Maintaining a constant high speed,
it, so to say, falls past the Earth.

One circle around the planet
takes about 2 hours.

It's difficult at first,
having attained zero gravity,

to remain stationary.

Many people assume
weightlessness occurs

only at a considerable
distance from the Earth.

This is incorrect.

The state of weightlessness is also
experienced by pilots in a diving plane,

and by parachute jumpers
during a free-fall jump.

However, weightlessness in these
cases, does not last very long.

In space, the daily work begins:

observations are made, and
communication is maintained with the Earth.

Hello, Earth?

The locator has given the altitude:

Over Australia: 1.200.
Over Europe: 1.300.

Ellipse corresponds
to calculated values.

Feeling well.

Passing over the Equator.

The Sun has overheated the starboard.

We'll turn around.



The boundaries of clouds
are observed perfectly.

That's how weather should be forecast.

Entering the Earth's shadow.

It's time to test the space suit.

Are you afraid?

Help me put it on.

And now, the first person,

goes into open space,

taking with him, inside his hermetic
suit, into this terrible abyss

a bit of Earth's habitual climate.


Not a slightest trace of atmosphere,
and consequently, silence.

Complete and eternal silence.

Many dangers await the brave cosmonauts,

who dared leave the shelter
of the Earth's atmosphere.

Cosmic rays, not attenuated by anything,
penetrate the human body.

Will the fearless travellers
pay with their life?

Meteorites - tiny celestial stones,
rush around in the void.

Like a bullet, any one of them can
pierce through the human body,

stopping the heart.

The Earth remembers its sons.

The contact with the cosmonauts
is maintained.

Radio messages from the ship
are transmitted regularly.

As darkness falls,
thousands of eyes look for it.

A tiny star is crossing the sky.

And on it is... Father.

The first return from its maiden voyage.

Halting its motion slightly,
the ship begins its descent.

It's vital to enter the atmosphere slowly,

so as not to burn up like a meteor.

The ship descends in a spiral.

Only by reducing the ship's speed to
that of an aircraft is it possible to land.

Another stage in the conquest
of space has ended successfully.

It's now possible to
move on to the next stage.

Dozens of ships are already primed
to be sent into interplanetary space.

They will deliver materials
and people into space,

in order to construct
out there, in the void,

a permanent space station.

Meanwhile, preparations begin

to send an automatic rocket
to orbit around the moon.

Instead of people,
in the rocket's nose section

television transmitters are installed;

an automatically operating video camera;

photographic equipment
equipped with various optics.

Deep into interplanetary space,

the construction of
the space station is under way.

Cargo vessels have delivered
construction material into orbit.

The materials weigh nothing,
but their mass and inertia remain.

Moving materials in space is only possible
using velocity of special rocket engines.

Welding is done with rays of the Sun.

They are always in abundance here.

Whole brigades of assemblers
are working in space,

and far away, on the Mother Earth,

millions of friends
are avidly waiting for every message

from this heroic construction.

Meanwhile, the automatic rocket is
already over the surface of the Moon.

Being down on the Earth,

we can see mountains,

which are 380.000
kilometres away from us;

stones on which people
will soon set foot.

The construction process of
the space station is complete.

A huge construction, full of complex
equipment, powered by atomic energy,

hurtles around the Earth
with circular velocity.

Here, this terrifying
speed is imperceptible.

There's no air to whistle in your ears.

No shocks.
No colliding objects passing by.

The outer part of the station
rotates due to centrifugal force,

creating the sensation of gravity
and improving human well-being.

Let's take a closer look at the station.

The ring is divided into sections
with hermetically sealed doors,

in case of damage
by meteorites or air leaks.

After all, behind the walls,
lies emptiness.

The station undertakes large projects.
Here is the kingdom of meteorologists.

Observing the Earth from above, they
see clouds covering the whole globe.

They are on duty around the clock.

In the Pacific ocean, there's a large
typhoon moving north-west.

Urgently alert Japanese fishermen.

The current typhoon coordinates are...

At the space station, large-scale work
servicing the home planet is conducted.

Here, the movement of ice
in the Arctic seas is monitored.

As well as the activity of the Sun.

Television programs are also broadcast.

Dozens of people work at the station.

Here are their living quarters.

People quickly get used to
their new living conditions,

and here, into the black abyss,

someone has brought,
some familiar earthly comforts.

Of course, one feels homesick,

but here, everything is done
to alleviate the isolation from Earth.

The unusual conditions at the station,

allow biologists to conduct
interesting experiments.

In this compartment, set the climate
number five and an eight-hour day.

Don't completely shield
your hybrid from the Sun.

A physicist's dream: a space laboratory.

Your work on cosmic rays
will be ground-breaking.

You'll see.

And now this.

Ask for more tests on my new plastic

under low temperature conditions.

Good. We only received it
on today's ship.

The station has various branches
of terrestrial institutes.

Astronomical Observatory

The astronomical observatory.

For centuries, the cloudy atmosphere,

stood between the inquisitive eye of
the astronomer and the universe. But now...

You know, it's as if I have
taken off a pair of dirty glasses.


Two images of Mars.

Taken by two identical telescopes.

This one was taken through the Earth's
atmosphere, and this one is from here.

- High definition, correct?

The space station is not
just a research institute.

Here, preparation begins for the first
ship with people to go to the Moon.

It has a strange shape.

But as there's a vacuum from here to the
Moon, a streamlined shape is not needed.

Only cheap and convenient links
are needed between the cockpit,

fuel tanks, engines and chassis.

"Centre of Communication
with the Space Station"

Prepare for launch.

Five minutes before take-off.

How long has it been since we
accompanied the first cosmonauts,

on their flight into this circular
orbit, then uninhabited?

And now from here, the man will take
his next step: a flight to the Moon.

Scientists' and artists' imagination
is always ahead of reality.

The first people are still
on their way to the Moon.

But already, the dreams of these brave
space conquerors, lay ahead of their ship.

The mastered Moon.

Hermetic cities.


Mining operations.

In fact, there, on the Moon, it will be
possible to manufacture fuel for ships.

The Moon will become a base for the
conquest of the entire solar system.

On distant celestial bodies,

we'll find answers to the thousands
of questions that concern us on Earth.

Mysterious Mars

will expand our knowledge of
the adaptability of living things.

Shrouded in clouds, Venus will reveal
to us the secret of the origins of life.

The wonderful rings of Saturn will tell
us of the birth and death of planets.

Though these are currently dreams,
they are certain to become a reality.

Life goes on this island in space, and
first people are flying to the Moon.

Even with the most powerful
telescopes on the Earth,

it will be hard to keep
track of their ship.

An unquenchable thirst for knowledge
leads them to this sleeping world.

Everything is dead: no blue sky,
no penumbras, no life and no sound.

The silent world.

It slept, like dead,
for billions of years.

Now it will have to wake up.

Man has come.

"What is impossible today will become
possible tomorrow" - Tsiolkovsky