Space

A conversation with astronauts: Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko

Richard Hollingham with the BBC found out that talking toAstronauts in orbit are as easy as dialing a phone number when they called the International Space Station. How do astronauts live in orbit? How do they work? Of course, you can’t tell everything at once. Next - from the first person.

My home office is in a village at 30miles north of London - connected to the outside world by a copper cable. The line sways freely in the wind between the drainage of our house and the telephone pole on the street. I think it was installed when the house was built in the mid-1930s. Pre-war technology has existed for 80 years, but it still faces a serious test.

"Please count from one to ten," -Beth asks me, a polite engineer at the NASA Audio Management Center in Houston. I do what they ask for - I try to speak clearly. “Thank you,” she says. “Your telephone line is certified for space.”

It took many months to negotiateabout interviews with astronauts on the International Space Station, and when the final touches have already been made, remains for a very short time, I will soon communicate with people circling around the Earth. A live picture of NASA television is displayed on my computer monitor, which is relayed by Houston from the International Space Station (fortunately, via a broadband connection). Although I will see astronauts, they can only hear me on the phone.

NASA sent me detailed instructions for communicationwith the ISS, and I'm a little nervous, waiting for the connection. “The station is Houston,” says Capcom (Capsule Communicator) in the flight control center. - You are ready?".

On the screen, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and RussianCosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko swim in sight. These two crew members of the ISS spent four months of their one-year mission, aimed at studying the effects of the effects of a long stay in space. They sway loosely between the white walls of the Japanese Kibo module.

- Please start the voice test for the BBC.

“The station, this is Richard Hollingham with the BBC, how's that?”

- I hear you clearly and loudly, welcome aboard the International Space Station!

I speak with the cosmos. Space! Okay, Richard, calm down, be a professional. Deep breath…

You both look pretty good after four months in space, I wonder how you find this mission for a year?

Scott Kelly: So far so good, to stay here for a year is quite a long time, but we have already flown before, so we know where we are going, the space station is an incredible place. We have a lot of opportunities here and a lot of work. Therefore, we are optimistic about the 200 remaining days, everything will go smoothly.

Mikhail Kornienko: I think space makes you look younger. Joke, of course, but at the same time we do the exercises twice a day and, as Scott said, I can confirm that we are optimistic, and I believe that after my mission a year long I will be even in better shape than before the mission .

As I understand it, before the mission you communicated well. Are you still friends?

Scott: Absolutely, and even more now. Spending a lot of time here together strengthens the bond between us. A great place to build relationships and international partnerships. And this is one of the most beautiful faces of this space station. The international aspect of it.

Misha: We are still friends, and we will be friends until the end!

What makes this flight different from ordinary missions?

Scott: It is unique in duration - if we compare our participation in experiments involving people, Mikhail and I, of course, are more involved in this than ordinary crew members. During the year 400 scientific experiments will be conducted here, so our participation is measurably higher than that of anyone who has been here for half a year. But from a daily perspective, our life here is no different from that of other members.

You work together during this year - what could this be said in the light of work on Earth? What can we learn?

Scott: I think that a space station, this neutral territory, with quite difficult conditions, so to speak, gives us the opportunity to work on something very important and very complex. This is one of the biggest successes of the space station. We get excellent results from scientific work. From all this you can extract very, very much new.

Scott, what did you learn from the Russians?

I learn all sorts of things from these guys all the time. They have a lot of experience. Their long-term experience in space is much wider than ours. They do some things differently. They are more practical. Their budget is smaller than that of NASA, so it's great to watch what they can achieve with very limited resources. It is impressive.

Mikhail, what did you learn from working with the Americans?

I have to say that there are many things for Americansto learn. First of all, they are all very focused, very scrupulous, especially when performing their tasks and work, and I think there will be more, something to learn from our partners, and in general we will learn something new to each other every day.

They are all very friendly, and I cannot say that I was angry or sad before, but our American friends are very friendly, so I learn from them and this.

People want to know how this space flight changed your view on the role of humanity on planet Earth?

Scott: Every time I fly into space, I am amazed at how small the Earth seems and how we all begin to seem to be citizens of one whole, and not of different countries. You do not see the political boundaries that are drawn on the maps, you see only the physical boundaries. There is a feeling that we are all part of one big team, the team of the Earth. The only thing that scares - the atmosphere seems very thin and very fragile. These two main things have changed my point of view throughout my career.

Does your training help you?

Scott: Absolutely. We have a smart team on the ground, an international team, not only in the USA, but also in Russia, Japan, Europe, Canada, which has been training us for many years for these missions. Although there are some things that you do not understand, until you find yourself here, and it is impossible to truly imitate microgravity. By and large, we are very well prepared and this is thanks to the people who are on earth.

Have your dreams changed?

Scott (laughs): I had an interesting dream last night, but I will not tell you about it ... In any case, I was asked after the last flight whether the dreams are different on Earth and in space, and I could not remember. Therefore, now I write down my dreams, and most of them are about being on Earth, but sometimes the space station also dreams. In general, you know that people have strange dreams.

In the meantime, the time allotted by the “Earth team”come to an end. During our 10-minute conversation, the ISS passed over Colombia and Brazil. It remains only to guess what dreamed Scott Kelly in space.

We embrace space technology advances.for granted. When I was still a kid, I built complex lunar bases from cardboard boxes, the curtains in my bedroom were decorated with images of aviation history, and my favorite book was a book about shuttles. I could not even imagine that one day I would talk to astronauts traveling in orbit at a speed of 27,000 kilometers per hour, 400 kilometers above the planet.