Zaletin: Cosmonauts, like Kononenko, are very rare in the world

Zaletin: Cosmonauts, like Kononenko, are very rare in the world

The fourth space flight of a native of Turkmenistan Oleg Kononenko ended only a month and a half ago. During his work in orbit, he conducted dozens of scientific experiments and studies, including the printing of living tissues on a three-dimensional bioprinter. And even set a world record for the length of stay on the ISS.

In total, for all four flights he got 737 days. But for Oleg Kononenko, as ORIENT has learned, this is not the limit. He swung at another record – also world.

This was told by another famous astronaut – Sergey Zaletin. In the Ivanovo region, where many astronauts undergo post-flight rehabilitation, he arrived at the Open Skies festival.

A meeting of the astronaut with schoolchildren and everyone interested in space was held at the Quantorium children’s industrial park. The place for communication turned out to be very successful – in interior design, the building resembles an interstellar ship. They asked Sergey Zaletin, of course, about Oleg Kononenko, who had just returned from a flight.

“There are few cosmonauts, and we all know each other,” said Sergey Viktorovich. – In addition, I have such a position now – an adviser to the head of the Cosmonaut Training Center. I can say a few words about Kononenko. Now he is a squad leader. Handsome, smart guy. So normal, ambitious. To such an extent, he raised his ambitions that he is trying to break all records. I say it in a good way. We are in our circle, this is our own family.

The record for staying on the ISS, as already mentioned, was beaten by Oleg Kononenko. But the first place in terms of the total duration of stay in space without linking to this station is now occupied by Gennady Padalka. His first flight was still at the Mir station, and taking into account all the flights, he spent 878 days in space.

– In terms of its potential, Oleg Kononenko, in principle, is close to him. I just talked with him and said that he lacks more than 120 days to “remove Gena Padalka from the pedestal, who once replaced Krikalev,”said Sergey Zaletin.

And he noted that now Oleg Kononenko is recovering strength after the flight, but does not leave plans aside:

“I hope that in two and a half years he will complete his record fifth flight and become the absolute world record holder for his overall stay in space.” Such astronauts as Oleg, of course, can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Becoming the first in the world! Among the astronauts, of course. I envy him with white envy.

Zaletin came to astronautics from piloting, and Kononenko from engineers. “And, nevertheless, he retained in himself this indefatigable desire to experiment, to fly. To some extent, this is truly a unique person,” says Sergey Zaletin about his colleague.

The meeting also discussed another interesting topic related to Turkmenistan. Pupils asked if the old tradition of watching the film “The White Sun of the Desert” before the start remains in force.

It began with the crew of the Soyuz-12. Here we must make a small digression. The fact is that astronauts are considered almost the most superstitious people on the planet. Is it really so is not for us to judge. But the fact is that for the first time the astronauts looked at the “White Sun of the Desert” before the start, after the previous crew, “Soyuz-11,” died on their return to Earth due to depressurization of the descent vehicle at high altitude.

After this tragedy, watching the film became a kind of “talisman” – after a successful landing, the cosmonauts of the Soyuz-12 crew said that they had “Comrade Sukhov” cheering with them in difficult times.

– The film was liked by the astronauts. It so happened that after watching the flights ended very successfully in terms of tasks. We decided to add it to the obligatory viewing program before the start,” said Sergey Zaletin.

Indeed, the film is used as a tool for training astronauts in filming. How to make a plan, how to work with a camera, how to set scenes. Astronauts know this film more than by heart.

And still, traditions, according to Zaletin, do not change: somewhere two days before the start, the main and backup crews watch this film.

– This film has become a classic, we love it because the plot is as good as the artists. They came to Star City, in a detachment, told how they filmed. Kuznetsov, Spartak Mishulin often came.

The film was shot first on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, and then on the eastern – in Turkmenistan. And the shooting, by the way, was completed exactly half a century ago.

Moreover, the film masterpiece of Vladimir Motyl could be shot by another director – Andrei Tarkovsky. It is known that he received such an offer.

There was something common in the work of the two masters. Zoya Kaydanovskaya – the daughter of Alexander Kaydanovsky, who played the stalker at Tarkovsky, spoke at a meeting with viewers in Ivanovo about the dedication of the film crew in that same mysterious “zone”: “For example, there was a huge field – all dotted with dandelions. And Andrei Arsenievich said: “To destroy the yellow grass!” In this whole field, the whole group was tearing dandelions.”

In the Karakum during the filming of the film Motyl, the landscape was also unsuitable for the classic image of the desert. There was a lot of rain that year, and the desert was, as the nerds joke, a “heap”. The director did not give up the Karakum, but army forces were involved in a special operation to weed the sands from the growing plants. They made a film not only in the desert, but also in the vicinity of the city of Bayramali.

All Turkmen footage of the tape to Oleg Kononenko, of course, are native. And the Karakum itself, he often admired from the porthole of the ISS and even took pictures. This is his hobby.

Here is what he told me a few years ago, when he was undergoing rehabilitation after his second flight in the sanatorium of Reshma in the Ivanovo Region:

– Our working day ends at 18.30 or at 19.00, after that comes the analysis of the flight. And then it’s our personal time – we do what we like. Impressive from this height are the Andes. Australia is very beautiful. There is beauty in the desert. By the way, flying over Turkmenistan, where I was born, I photographed my native cities – Ashgabat and Turkmenabat. At night they are flooded with lights, very beautiful!

Weightlessness has no power over the gravity of the native land. The land in the porthole for Oleg Kononenko is not only the majestic landscapes of distant lands, but also close to the heart of Karakum.

Such landscapes also attract the lens of other astronauts. Last year, Sergei Ryazansky, a leading blog with photographs from flights, showed an amazing shot of Karabogazgol Bay.

“It has a salinity of a completely different type than the Caspian itself: there are many deposits of Glauber’s salt, or mirabilite. In winter, mirabilite crystallizes on the shores, which is why Karabogazgol is also called the “sea of ​​white gold.” Through the strait, it communicates with the Caspian Sea, while the water coming from the sea never comes back, but the whole evaporates from the bay, which makes it many times more saline. According to nomads and sailors, it was a gulf of death filled with poisoned water,” signed Sergey Ryazansky.

He, as ORIENT already reported, at the request of the Turkmenistani people, had previously taken an amazingly beautiful shot from the space of Ashgabat flooded with night lights.

Speaking about the Caspian Sea, I would like to recall the European astronaut Alexander Gerst  admiring the Caspian. ORIENT wrote that he wrote about his desire to visit the countries of the Caspian basin on his Facebook page, posting mesmerizing photos of the Caspian region made from space.

No words, nature endowed the Caspian region with beauty and attractive force, which does not weaken even at cosmic distances.

Leonid KIYASHKO, journalist, Russia, Ivanovo

Author’s photo