Roscosmos

Roscosmos seeks new cosmonauts

Roscosmos announced a recruitment drive for young would-be cosmonauts who it hopes will become the country’s first on the Moon. What is more, women are welcome as well. Russia’s space agency said it is looking for 6 to 8 cosmonauts who will operate a new-generation spaceship now in development and “will become the first Russians to fly to the Moon”.

Russia is keen to rekindle the space triumphs of the Soviet era after a series of embarrassing glitches in recent years. It has announced plans for its first manned Moon landing by 2031. “There will be no discrimination based on skin color or gender,” the executive director of manned programs Sergei Krikalyov said at a news conference, quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.

Applications are welcome for the next four months, said the first deputy director of Roscosmos Alexander Ivanov, cited by RIA Novosti. The Federatsiya is designed to fly to the Moon with four people on board. The first manned test launch is planned in 2023 from Russia’s new Vostochny cosmodrome in the country’s far east. The criteria for applicants include an age limit of 35, height between 1 meter 50 centimeters and 1 meter 90 (4 foot, 11 inches to 6 foot, 2 inches) and weight of no more than 90 kilograms (14 stone, 2 pounds), according to Roscosmos.

A high standard of fitness is a must and would-be astronauts have to cross-country ski for 5 kilometers. They undergo a barrage of psychological and physical tests including gynecological examinations for women. Applicants can apply by post or in person to Star City astronaut training center outside Moscow, remembering to enclose three passport-sized photographs.

Russia currently has 30 cosmonauts, 14 of whom have never been in space. The oldest is 58-year-old Gennady Padalka, who holds the world record for total time spent in space, while the youngest is 31-year-old Ivan Vagner, according to TASS state news agency.

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