[amsat-bb] Russian president calls station for Cosmonautics Day

Fabiano Moser fabianomoser at gmail.com
Tue Apr 13 09:46:56 PDT 2010

9:50 AM, 4/12/10

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called the International Space Station
early Monday to mark the 49th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's historic flight,
suggesting an international space summit to discuss ongoing and future
cooperative ventures on the high frontier.

"Space is our highest priority, regardless of how hard the economic
situation is in the country," Medvedev said in translated remarks. "Space
will always remain our priority. This is not just somebody's interpretation,
it's our official state position. I am here in my presidential office and
when addressing you, I can confirm again the significance of space for the

"We want to thank you again for today's holiday," station commander Oleg
Kotov replied.

All six Expedition 23 crew members - Kotov, Alexander Skvortsov, Mikhail
Kornienko, Tracy Caldwell Dyson, Timothy Creamer and Soichi Noguchi -
gathered for the conversation in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module.

"On behalf of all of us here on the International Space Station, including
our shuttle colleagues, we just want to wish everyone congratulations on
this historic day," Caldwell Dyson told the Russian president. "It means as
much to us for the event of Yuri's first launch as it does for all of the
people involved in making this space program possible. We're all filled with
gratitude and appreciation. Congratulations to all of you."

Medvedev told the space station crew that in the early years of the space
program, "development of cosmonautics was based on ideology and now, this is
the area where we should try to assist each other in creating the mechanisms
that will yield collective results. And this cooperation, I believe, is
extremely important for the future, taking into account that space programs
become more and more complicated, more and more costly, and the goals that
we set become more and more complicated.

"No country can develop space alone, we need to combine our efforts and we
need to talk about it more often," he said. "So maybe we could have some
sort of international meeting, maybe at the heads of governments level.
Because we talk about various issues, such as tackling all kinds of
challenges, dangers and hazards that humanity is facing these days, various
disarmament programs, etc., but there is a very important and positive
factor that unites us all. So maybe it would be good to have a summit, maybe
at the heads of governments level, for the countries that are working in
space. So see, I have a very good idea on this holiday. What do you think?
We could invite you to participate as well."

Kotov called the International Space Station "a great example of
international cooperation where we have two completely different technical
schools, Russian and U.S., and we combine our effort, we found the
interfaces not only for machines but also for humans and we've created this
wonderful, fully functional station ... and that is something that should be
used in the future.

"Together, we have created a single organism," Kotov said. "The crew
functions as one body even though it consists of representatives from
different countries. We have had a European astronaut on board, we have
Japanese astronauts on board right now, we have American astronauts,
Russian, and we understand each other perfectly, we don't have any conflicts
and I hope this will be true also regarding our cooperation everywhere

"Oleg, those are very good words, it's nice to hear that," Medvedev replied.
Then he changed the subject, saying "I think it will be a mistake if I don't
ask you some simple questions. How's life?"

"Well, it's like one of the most popular questions that we're asked - what
do you like best in space?" Kotov said. "And my answer is always two things:
weightlessness and the view out of the window. Also, just life in this three
dimensional space, where walls and floor and ceiling become all the same.
That's very interesting, and it takes changing your mind the way you think
about your surroundings."

Medvedev asked if the absence of gravity caused any problems for the station

"I can tell you honestly in my first flight, I noticed one month into the
flight I had this feeling as though I had been living in space and
weightlessness my entire life, it became such a natural part of my thinking
that I didn't have any problems," Kotov said.

"Everything was so natural, so pleasant, so comfortable, you get used to all
the minor negative details of being in weightless, you begin to enjoy the
positives tremendously. And that's something you don't forget and your body
remembers that. It was interesting. After I came back to Earth, I was
uncomfortable, actually, experiencing Earth's gravitation. To me, it was
strange to see the people not only walking on the surface of the planet, but
also running. It seemed very difficult."

Medvedev asked about the food on the International Space Station, wondering
"are they feeding you well?"

"Food in space is different from the ideas people have based on what they
knew in the 60s or 70s," Kotov said. "The food becomes more and more similar
to what we eat on Earth. We don't have any tubes. We do have cans and the
variety is pretty good. Because we're using the resources of all the space
agencies, we have a very international cuisine. We have Japanese food, we
have American food, European style, no complaints here."

Fabiano Moser CT7ABD / PY5RX

"There is no great talent without great will. (Honoré de Balzac)"

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