For example, Soviet Manned Lunar Program was classified after its closure and became public knowledge only in 1990.
The first living creature who got to the Earth’s orbit was dog Laika (pure creature), who wasn’t supposed to come back alive cuz there was no system of return. Only in 2002 it was aired that Laika died the same day it went to orbit, but until then the official version was that the dog lived in space for 6 more days.
In 1961 Valentin Bondarenko died after he was badly burned in altitude test cell with pure oxygen and medics couldn’t save him. 19 days after his death Yuriy Gagarin went to space. All information about Bondarenko was classified and Soviet people found out about his death only in 1986. Maybe that’s the reason why in the USA, and lately in USSR too conspiracy theory about “disappeared cosmonauts” was spread. It said that before Gagarin went to space several suborbital and orbital flights were taken by Soviets, but there was no success and cosmonauts died. There is no any evidence of that conspiracy theory though.
Aleksei Leonov – first man who went to outer space, and Pavel Belyaev – the second cosmonaut on that flight, had some problems on their way back to Earth. Their capsule landed somewhere in wild deep forests where they waited for the next 12 hours for emergency response group. Soviet mass media told that cosmonauts landed at secondary landing site. Everything’s according to plan))
So of cause there were a lot of moments which were not shared not only with other countries, but also with Union’s own people. Though no one concealed the information about two tragedies when Soviet cosmonauts died on their way back from space (Vladimir Komarov – Soyuz 1 in 1967 and the members of the spaceship Soyuz 11 in 1971).
Soviet people had not opportunity to watch the missile takeoffs. Everything was strictly classified around Baikonur and Kapustin Yar – soviet cosmodromes. Besides those cosmodromes were literally in the middle of nowhere. So it was a problem even to get near them. But space theme was super-popular with the Soviet population. The whole Soviet Union knew our cosmonauts (and maybe American cosmonauts too, as the information about them appeared in Soviet journals). Children dreamed to go to space. Many fantastic books and films about space appeared in that time. Planetariums were built in many cities.
As to the question about the Space Race from Illya point of view, we think that he would support it. Put in other words Space Race is one of the most peaceful parts of Cold war. It’s the battle of the minds, the challenge of new discoveries. Sounds like Illya field of interest. We don’t think that Illya’s could have some colleagues among Soviet engineers who were involved in space program. If it was true, it would mean that Illya’s subject is defense industry or space engineering, and under that circumstances he would never ever be allowed to go abroad as well as to work in such organization as UNCLE.
And here are some pictures about Soviet space achievements in Soviet journals and from matchboxes of that time.
And some decoration for New Year fir-tree