In Adelaide to present the 2015 Flinders Investigator Lecture at the Adelaide Festival Centre, Sergey Treshcheov and Alex Akulov reacquainted themselves with their old friend’s Mir station leisure suit at the SA Museum during a week-long stay in South Australia.
In high-flying space travel circles, the trio remain firm friends – with NASA consultant Andy Thomas and Yuri Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Centre senior consultants Professor Alex Akulov and Sergey Treshcheov are still contributing to the next generation of international astronautical history.
The 2015 Investigator Lecture coincides with Flinders University’s induction as a member of the International Astronautical Federation and the University’s support for the major 68th International Astronautical Congress to be held in Adelaide in 2017.
After a seven-year stint as Deputy Governor of the St Petersburg region, Professor Akulov has been again managing emerging crews at the Gagarin Training Centre in health and fitness.
He told the lecture that cosmonauts train for up to 15 years in a wide range of scientific, technical and educational fields including space technology, ballistics, emergency surgical procedures – along with demanding physical activities such as parachuting and scuba diving.
Both Professor Akulov and Mr Treshcheov are training future cosmonauts, including the 2015 intake at the Gargarin training centre, which will be part of the selection process for Russia’s recently announced 2027 manned mission to the Moon.
Back in 2002, flight engineer Sergey Treshcheov was one of three crew aboard the International Space Station’s fifth expedition.
Now in its 15th year, the ISS has made 45 expeditions and grown in size and stature, reflecting the rocketing interest in space travel and discovery, he told the booked-out Investigator Lecture.
Operated by the Russian Federal Space Agency, the ISS orbits about 400km above the planet and travels at speeds up to 27,600km/h or almost 8km a second – much faster than a bullet. The Space Station circles the Earth every 90 minutes, and looks down on 85 percent of the populated areas.
From three crew on the early missions, including Expedition 5 when Sergey, Russian commander Valeriy Korzun and American astronaut Peggy Whitson spent 184 days in space, the ISS has grown to include 16 nations and crews of six or more. It has expanded from two segments (Russian and American) to include 15 modules including European module Columbus and Japanese module Kibo.
“Remember that all of us are members of the crew of the spaceship called Earth,” Mr Treshcheov told the public lecture.
“And how the first cosmonaut on the planet, Yuri Gagarin, used to say: People, take care of the Earth.”
Professor Akulov is looking forward to space colonisation and more frequent missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
“Space colonisation is inevitable, probably in the next century, and travel to the Moon and Mars will soon become a reality,” Professor Akulov says.
“The latest Moon mission is a very significant initiative, of similar magnitude to the 1963 mission which launched the first woman into space (Valentina Tereshkova).”
“It might take 20 or 30 years, or longer, but I think space travel will become normal,” adds Treshcheov.
“Construction of settlements in space could possibly occur in the next century with technology breakthroughs.”
This year’s Investigator Lecture will be uploaded on the Flinders University website in coming weeks. A time-lapse video taken from the International Space Station (ISS) can be viewed here.
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