Between April 11-13, Roscosmos cosmonaut Nikolai Chub became a ‘star’ leader of Group 11 at Khrustalny camp, named after Yuri Gagarin. Firsthand communication with a space industry professional gave the kids in Artek an opportunity to discover the potential of the space profession and ‘try it for themselves.’
Artek has long been a platform for the realization of children’s dreams about space. For more than fifty years, children interested in astronautics have been meeting their idols at Artek. This tradition kicked off in 1961 when the world’s first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, visited here a few months after his first flight.
Cosmonautics Day in Khrustalny began with a celebratory assembly where the children awarded cosmonaut Nikolai Chub with the title of Honorary Artek Member. During a three-day session, the star leader conducted a network educational module for his group, and took members to the Nikitsky Botanical Garden, the Vorontsov Palace and the Kurchatov summer residence in Miskhor. Under his mentorship, the children carried out sports training and creative rehearsals. And yet, the most important thing was his conversation with the children. Nikolai Chub’s counseling proved invaluable for the young cosmonauts as they went through their paces with the Roscosmos educational program they started in Artek. In just three weeks, the students were to do training in ten labs: the Physics of Outer Space, Rocket Science, Fundamentals of Remote Sensing of the Earth, Planet Rover, Astronautics, Air Engineering School, Roboton-world-space, 3D modeling, Animated Film studio and MediaCosmos.
“These unique and extremely intelligent children asked me non-standard, unusual questions about how space technology works, how cosmonauts live, what they do during flights,” Nikolai Chub said, sharing his impressions. “We spoke the same language, so it was very easy for us. These kids have very wide horizons, and many of them dream of outer space. I think it is important to arrange meetings with professionals for them so that they get the energy to achieve their dreams and figure out what exactly they need to do.”
The cosmonaut considered himself lucky to be at the International Children's Center for a second time. “It is clear that Artek continues to change. Last year, it was more like a construction site – now it is a working facility. The place has a holistic, attractive look, and it is gratifying,” he said. After saying goodbye, Nikolai Chub expressed the wish that all the children in his group let space go to their heads so much that they want to make it their profession. “I wish all the children in Artek who are dreaming of entering an advanced technical profession, patience, diligence and good luck.”
According to the children, the meeting with the astronaut not only helped them learn more about the profession, but gave them confidence that everything would work out in their lives.
“Every minute, we gathered around Nikolai, the whole group, listened to his stories, or asked him questions,” said Yegor Bystrov from Chelyabinsk. “I dream of becoming an astronaut or a spacecraft designer, so I was interested in practical issues: what kind of technical education is better, what physical training is needed to fly into outer space, which specialists are in demand in the aerospace industry now. I realize that dealing with space requires hard work, both physically and mentally, not everyone can cope with it, but I want to do it anyway and thanks to Nikolai, I know where to go from here. I know it is possible.”
“I have been interested in space since early childhood, and when I came to Artek, I did not yet know about the space museum and that Gagarin had been here. Now I am so proud of having been to Artek,” says Keram Durayev, a friend of Yegor, from Cherkessk. “I did not even think that I would meet a real astronaut here and that I could talk to him, ask questions. I am grateful to our astronauts for the fact that, despite their tight schedule, they find time to meet with children and share their experience and knowledge.”
Various Russian cosmonauts have visited the camp at different times including Gherman Titov, Valentina Tereshkova, Vladimir Komarov, Andrei Babkin, Oleg Artemyev and many others. Artek has set up a space museum under the patronage of the first cosmonaut group, which stores artifacts from orbital missions and hosts young cosmonaut classes.