On April 4, participants of the Roscosmos international session, which begins at the Artek children’s center tomorrow, met at the Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics, with astronauts Roman Romanenko (Russia) and Frank De Winne (Belgium), who currently heads the European Space Agency’s European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.
The children, who had received Artek vouchers for winning the intellectual contests held by the Roscosmos Russian Space Corporation, also met with Artek Director Alexei Kasprzhak.
The meeting was attended by young space enthusiasts from Russia, the UK and Kazakhstan. Out of more than 1,600 children who will come to Artek for this session, 200 children from 25 foreign countries and 40 Russian regions are fascinated by space.
Astronauts Roman Romanenko and Frank De Winne, who were on the same International Space Station mission, held a workshop on overcoming difficulties in space, such as dealing with 4Gs of acceleration. They told the children about the requirements for those who want to become astronauts and what they can do at Artek to prepare for a job in space exploration.
Artek Director Alexei Kasprzhak said that members of the Roscosmos session would be able to take part in interesting projects, during which experts from the space agency will introduce them to the advantages of working at the forefront of science and technology.
“People will always remember the first manned space flight as an event that changed the world, while the memory of many events that seem important to us now will not leave a trace compared to that left by Sergei Korolev and Yury Gagarin” Alexei Kasprzhak said. “But space exploration is also a path into the future. There are barely 500 astronauts in the world. Those children at Artek who choose space as their future profession will be able to form a new reality where people will be very closely involved with space. They will explore space. Space will become their whole life, and it will also bring people together.”
Kasprzhak recalled that Artek is a venue where children’s dreams of space can become a reality. The world’s first astronaut, Yury Gagarin, came to Artek every year between 1961 and 1967. Other members of the Soviet space team also visited Artek: Gherman Titov, Valentina Tereshkova, Vladimir Komarov, Andrei Babkin and Oleg Artemyev. The first Soviet space team oversaw the establishment of the Cosmos Museum at Artek, which contains artifacts from several orbital missions and serves as a platform for training young astronauts.
The Artek director invited Romanenko and De Winne to come to Artek by the end of the Roscosmos session to appraise the children’s achievements.
Frank De Winne, who came to Moscow for a meeting with the Artek children, greeted them in Russian, saying: “Space brings people together. We see this clearly when we fly to the International Space Station on joint missions. Roman [Romanenko] and I became friends during preparations for our joint mission in 2009. I hope that you will make such friends at Artek. Although you will only spend three weeks together, I believe that you will become friends and will work in space together in the future. I wish you a soft landing at Artek.”
Romanenko added: “I hope your friendship will last all your lives, as it has for Frank and me, and that you will never forget the time you spent at Artek.”
Yevgeny Stepanov, Director of the Human Resources Department at Roscosmos, said: “Even if the children do not understand the scale of this event at this moment, with time they will remember it as an unforgettable experience.”
“It is vital for the Roscosmos staff that as many people as possible, both children and adults, become enthusiastic about space. This will create conditions for a breakthrough when space travel will become as ordinary as air flights. We must become people of the Universe,” Stepanov said.
He added that Roscosmos intends to encourage children from other countries to study at Russian engineering and technical universities with a view to promoting international cooperation. “We welcome foreign students at universities in the industry. It doesn’t matter whether they will work at the European Space Agency, NASA or Roscosmos upon graduation. It’s important that they develop working contact with other people in this profession, which is crucial for solving problems as quickly as possible. We hope that the Russian students who opt for joining our projects and are subsequently encouraged to receive an education at space universities will accept jobs at our companies,” Stepanov said.
Vladislav Klimentov, Deputy Director for Research at the Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics, said it was symbolic that this Artek session began at the museum. “Last year, 510,000 people visited the museum, which is evidence of growing interest in space exploration. You can see a connection to space everywhere you look at Artek. Frankly, I envy you!” Klimentov said.