What Unusual Items Do Russian Cosmonauts Take with Them into Space?

Despite years of discussions and agreements about limiting weapons in space, Soviet cosmonauts always reserved the right to include a triple barrel pistol in their Soyuz survival kits. Originally intended as protection against wolves and bears after a hypothetical touchdown in the Siberian wilderness, the TP-82 pistol also featured a folding stock that could be used as a shovel, and a hidden machete inside.

While waiting for recovery on land, the pistol could be used for hunting, for defense against predators, or for firing distress signals. There were a few dozen rounds of three types of ammunition in the kit – rifle bullets, shotgun shells, and flares, all usable in the unique gun.

Armed and ready, just in case:

  • Anecdotal information indicates that Russian cosmonauts no longer take the all-in-one firearm onboard their spacecraft.
  • Soyuz survival kits contain food rations, water bottles, warm clothing, rope, fish hooks, and other miscellaneous survival gear. American Gemini and Apollo spacecraft carried similar kits.
  • It is believed that guns were first taken onboard Soyuz spacecraft after an off-course landing in March 1965. Depending on the source of the story, a Soyuz crew encountered wolves (or in some versions, a hungry bear) before the rescue chopper arrived.
More Info: NBC

Discussion Comments


The Russians are so far ahead of the PC Mericans.Oh the horror of having a gun for protection.

Post your comments
Forgot password?