Turkey invited to join cosmonaut training program

AA file photo

An instructor at the cosmonaut training center in Russia has invited Turkish pilots to join his country's cosmonaut training program.

"If Turkey wants to participate in the program, choose strong and healthy people with higher technical education and send [them here], we are ready to train them," Viktor Suvorov, an instructor at Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, told Anadolu Agency.

The Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, located 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Moscow, has been preparing cosmonauts for space flight since the first human journey into outer space in 1961.

At the center, flight crew is given a six-year training in the replica of the Soyuz spacecraft and of the International Space Station (ISS). Cosmonauts who have completed their training go to the space expeditions.

Cosmonauts Alexander Gerst, Serena M. Aunon-Chancellor, and Sergey Prokopyev, who were launched aboard Soyuz MS-09 on June 6, 2018, had been trained in the center before their flight to the ISS.

The training consists of three different phases. At the end of the each phase, trainees have an exam and they need to clear all of them to become a cosmonaut.

Suvorov said the center has provided training for the whole process, from launching into space to returning to Earth.

"It takes a spacecraft only 9.5 minutes to get to an outer space from Earth, but the whole process from the launch from the cosmodrome till the spacecraft docking to the ISS takes about six hours," he said.

At the center, cosmonauts perform all the stages of the spacecraft operations, from the launch to the return to Earth, Suvorov added.

"Cosmonauts are trained to cope up with all possible kinds of abnormal situations before being sent to the expedition," he said.

Turkey's interest in space

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, cosmonaut Sergey Revin said he had a dream of going into the space since childhood. Revin said he was prepared to make his dream come true.

The cosmonaut said he visited Turkish capital Ankara, where the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) held an exhibition, last year. Turkey's interest in space has increased in recent years, he added.

Revin said he wants to fly to space with a Turkish man and offered Turkey to construct its own module at the ISS.

"Why wouldn't it [Turkey] get involved in the International Space Station program? The current space station will continue to fly until 2024, so Turkey does not have enough time to construct its own module for the ISS. But the program will continue, and Turkey can be part of it," Revin said.

"[Turkey] can make its own module for the next ISS and connect it, for example, to the Russian segment. In this case, more systematic work can be carried out and many Turkish pilots could fly into space," he added.

Sharing his experience about witnessing Turkey from the space, Revin said: "Turkey looks very beautiful from the space. The mountains look the best. The Salt Lake is in different colors, so it is seen very well from the space too. Turkey is surrounded by the seas, because of that it is easily identified from the outer space."

Andrey Kuritsin, head of the research institute in the training center, said the whole world is aware of how important it was to go out into space. New programs were developed to go to the moon and into deeper space, he added.

"We now have an excellent experience in operating the International Space Station which is currently being used by 15 countries. At the same time, there is an opportunity for any country to have a contract and send its cosmonauts to the station," he said.

Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first human being to journey into outer space on April 12, 1961 aboard the spacecraft Vostok-1.

The day was declared the "International Day of Human Space Flights" by the United Nations General Assembly on April 7, 2011 to celebrate each year the beginning of the space era for mankind.

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