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Throwback Thursday: Rochester students visit USSR months before break-up

For two weeks in January 1991, 30 Mayo High School students along with teachers and chaperones, shown here in this photo from the History Center of Olmsted County archives, visited the then Soviet Union with the goal of witnessing a Soviet Space Shuttle launch.

They would have been the first group of Americans to see such a launch if not for a snowstorm that prevented them from traveling to the site. Despite this setback, they got to visit mission control, an aerodynamics test facility, and a cosmonaut training facility.

Their visit wasn’t all about the space program, though, as several students stayed with Soviet families for the duration of the trip where they learned about everyday life in the country.

The official break up of the USSR would come by the end of the year.

Jacob Murphey

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