1 Gun, 2 Batteries, 3 Balaclavas: What Was in Soviet Cosmonauts' Survival Kits

Let's just say that they packed for adventure.
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Cosmonaut survival kit (RuSpace)

Sure, Soviet cosmonauts had to face the difficulties of space travel, which were tough enough. 

But what if they happened to crash land in some unknown territory? At the height of the Cold War? What would they do? How would they survive and contact their countrymen? What if they encountered hostile animals or other humans? 

For all these reasons, the cosmonaut survival kit that our friends at The Appendix dug up is remarkable. Here is a list of all the items that were included in the NAZ, as it was known as in Russian (Носимый Аварийный Запас, Nosimyi Avariynyi Zapas). We can thank RuSpace, a Russian space blog, for this impressive feat of archival dedication:

The NAZ-3 is designed to serve the three cosmonauts for 72 hours and includes (left to right, top to bottom in photo):

Makarov pistol and ammunition;

wrist compass,

18 waterproof matches with striker;

machete;

fishing kit;

strobe light with spare battery;

8 fire starters;

folding knife;

antenna;

3-pair wool gloves;

signal mirror;

NAZ-7M type medical kit;

penlight;

R-855-YM or R-855-A1 radio;

two “Priboy 2S”, ПРИБОЙ-2С radio batteries;

three wool balaclava hoods.

Not shown are containers, three PSND, ПСНД hand-held flares; 15 mm flare set; whistle; sewing kit; insect repellent; wire saw; rations and 2-liter water container.

I took the description here, and labeled the photograph above. I feel confident that I placed the markers properly for most of the items, but I'm shaky on the identifications for the strobe light, antenna, and med kit (if you happen to have detailed knowledge on the matter). 

Update: A reader wrote in to correct the strobe light and antenna IDs: the photo labels have been changed. Now I'm pretty sure the strobe light is in the right place, but I' have no idea where the antenna goes. 

Nota bene: This survival kit is probably a pretty good starter kit for the zombie apocalypse. I mean, there's even a machete. 

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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