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Volunteers build path to historic site of cosmonaut landing in Russian forest

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The path will allow people to more easily visit the famous Voskhod-2 spacecraft landing site
The path will allow people to more easily visit the famous Voskhod-2 spacecraft landing site   -   Copyright  AP Photo
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Volunteers have built a walkway leading to a special place in the history of spaceflight - the middle of a forest.

The trail, deep in the remote Perm region of Russia, will take visitors to the site where 55 years ago two cosmonauts crash-landed after their spacecraft malfunctioned.

After completing the first spacewalk in history, Alexey Leonov, along with fellow cosmonaut Pavel Belyaev, faced a system failure upon re-entry to Earth.

They were forced to land the Voskhod-2 spacecraft deep in the forest in the middle of winter - far from the target destination.

It took three days for rescue crews to reach them in the remote region, but they emerged as heroes of the Soviet space programme.

“This site is important not only to the Perm region, I would say it is important both to Russia and to the whole world, because there are not so many places where cosmonauts land,” said Vladimir Lipnyagov, Head of charity foundation Parma which has organised the walkway project.

"Second, here is the place where these very famous cosmonauts landed, and this very famous Voskhod-2 (spacecraft) from where the first spacewalk by man in history took place."

A plaque now stands in the spot where the spacecraft landed in 1965 - a spot that was previously difficult for visitors to reach.

But the new 400-metre long eco-trail, constructed over two weeks, means tourists will now be able to visit the spot much more easily.

"People, of course, do come here, but there was no straight good route here, so to say, there were terrible bumps here, thick grass growing," said Anna Ivanova, one of the volunteers.

"Now anyone would be able to come here, I think, by foot, up to this point, and see in person the site where the cosmonauts landed."

Lipnyagov hopes a new monument can be created as he says the current one is "too gloomy".

"We would like to put on the landing site a model of that capsule in which our cosmonauts Leonov and Belyaev landed."