Cyprus flag carried into space
Moscow, Oct 31 – Α Russian cosmonaut of Greek origin Fyodor Yurchihin has carried the flag of the Republic of Cyprus into space, on a mission to the international space station.
On his return to earth, he said he would like to visit Cyprus, possibly sometime in the Spring, to hand over the flag to the Cypriot President.
Before fulfilling his wish, Yurchihin, who is the 98th Russian cosmonaut who traveled to space, said he must undergo certain medical examinations and visit his parents in Salonica.
The official ceremony to welcome back to earth the Russian crew of the spaceship will be held according to the established traditions, including a visit to Yuri Gagarin monument on November 8.
The 48 year-old Yurchihin stayed in the spaceship “Soyuz” for six months along with Oleg Kotov who traveled into space for the first time. Yurchihin made his first trip into space as a member of the crew of the American “Atlantis” in October 2002.
Commander Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Kotov set up a working station in space that will allow experiments to take place.
The two cosmonauts have described their flight and stay in space as an expedition full of new experiences.
The two cosmonauts landed according to the emergency scenario, a procedure rarely used since it causes more turbulence, increases pressure and leads to deviation from the planned landing location.
“None of us has lost consciousness or his vision,” Yurchihin said on his return, adding that when pressure exceeded 7 G they just interrupted communication with earth and held their breath for few seconds.
The cosmonauts faced adjustment difficulties and suffered from lack of balance and nausea during the first 48 hours after they landed safely on October 21st but as they said “we are trained to deal with turbulence and high pressure.”