Readiness for Russia
The Russia trip was designed to be a unique opportunity for students to experience the history of Russian space exploration programmes from the first satellite probes in the 1950s to present day and the construction of the international space station. Students will experience master classes from scientists and innovators in the field of space exploration from Korolev City.
Students will visit the space corporation, Energia, to see many artefacts from the Russian space programmes and gain an understanding of the culture and language of Russia through a visit to the Kremlin, Red Square and other historical places in and around Moscow.
Diary of Joss Taylor - Trentham High School, Stoke-on-Trent
Day 1 - 2nd October 2012
Travel, travel, travel. Waking up at 1.30am to get to Derby at 3am isn’t my idea of an ideal start to the day. Followed by a 3 hour coach journey to London Heathrow Airport. The four hour flight wasn’t so bad with the entertainment of the inflight TV and jokes from my friends but having arrived in Moscow Domodedovo Airport we had another 2 hour coach journey. Due to the 4 million cars on Moscow roads the coach trip lasted 4 hours and the warmer than Britain heat didn’t help as there was little air conditioning.
Finally, arriving at the hotel we saw our rooms; they were good. Staying with my friend for the week was going to be fun and the week ahead was going to be interesting.
Day 2 - 3rd October 2012
Today we were touring around Moscow. In the coach we had seen many statues and memorials to all of the people important to Moscow and Russia. First we visited Red Square (correctly called Beautiful Square in Russian). Here we saw St Basel’s Cathedral, Gum and the Kremlin. St Basel’s Cathedral was magnificent with its ten chapels and multi-coloured roof. Also the great walls of the Kremlin were stunning with its great towers overlooking the square. We left the square for the moment where we saw the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and arrived there in time to witness the changing of the guards. Heading back into the square there was a massive statue of Stalin on a horse this was facing away from the Kremlin towards the market.
Next stop was Gum department store. This was a massive place that reminded me of Harrods and the Trafford Centre combined.
After going back to the hotel for dinner we were off to our next destination. On the way we stopped off at some gardens and saw the wonderful scenery and impressive buildings. This was the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics. Here I was amazed to see all of the rockets and satellites also pictures of the first dog to space, Lika, and the first two dogs to return from space. We also saw the space suits of the first cosmonaut to walk in space and the first cosmonaut into space (Yuri Gagarin). We learnt about how the rockets and satellites had improved technologically and physically thanks to the knowledge of our wonderful tour guide. Attached to the museum was a statue of a rocket, this was part an enormous sight that could be seen from many miles away and was one of the tallest points on Moscow.
Day 3 - 4th October 2012
The day started off in the Mission Control Centre in Korolyov City. Here we had to keep quiet as there were many people working. We entered on of the control rooms although there was no one in there we could see how many people would be working on a project at any time due to the size of the room. Then we entered the other control room, here they were already contacting the International Space Station and from the seating above we could see a live stream below. There must have been at least 50 people in the area below all contacting cosmonauts, astronauts or the space station in one way or another.
After that brilliant experience we went to a Russian School in Korolyov City. We were welcomed by some of the students and the teachers. We went to witness some of the lessons that went on in the school. It was funny as when we went in the Russian students found the English language humorous as they said ‘hello’ and began to giggle. Also we went into the reception where we were all given a gift that the children had made themselves in the weeks prior to the visit. I was given a painting given to me by one of the girls in the class. Then we were given some entertainment. This started with is joining in in a Russian dance; then playing some games; watching two students in ballroom dancing and finally going outside to play badminton with the Russian students. When we came back inside we were greeted by the
Russian cosmonaut Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Volkov. He spoke to us about space travel and his time on board two different Russian space centres, Salyut and Mir. Then we were able to ask him questions and I was amazed about some of the things that I found out. We were then given a signed photo and booklet of Mr Volkov.
Day 4 - 5th October 2012
Today we set of towards Star City. This is the place where the cosmonauts train in preparation for space flight. We were told that they cosmonauts need to be strong and prepared as when taking off they experience up to 4 G-Force. This means that is a cosmonaut was 50kg they would feel the weight of 200kg on their chest. They need to be strong in order for their heart not to stop. We then went to see a model of the ISS (International Space Station) and learnt even more about the rockets and cosmonautics. We also learnt about what the cosmonauts had with them in the landing pod for when they land. This included first aid kits and a survival kit, including guns, matches and saws so that they can start a fire if they land in Siberia. Then we were able to buy some of the space food in the gift shop. I bought space bread, space juice and space fudge.
After dinner we went to see Aleksandr Volkov’s son, Sergei. He is also a Russian cosmonaut who has been to space twice on the ISS and is hoping to visit it again soon. He told us about life on board the ISS and the adaptations they have to make when they arrive there and when they land back on Earth. We were then given a signed photo of Sergei and our school received a gift to remind is of the ISS and Sergei.
Day 5 - 6th October 2012
Today once again we were touring around the city of Moscow. This started with us going to the Kremlin to have a tour inside its touring walls. It was amazing to see the massive buildings within also its many magnificent churches with their gold domes. Inside the paintings were amazing and extremely detailed; unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photographs as the paintings covering the walls were extravagant. After visiting the church we were lucky enough to witness the changing of the guards. It was a brilliant spectacle and it was much greater than the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace.
After dinner we were back in the coach finishing off our tour of Moscow. On this trip we went to see the 1980 Olympic village with the massive Olympic Stadium dominating the area. Also we went to see the university building. It was massive and one of the seven skyscrapers built around Moscow to represent the 800 years of the city. The other skyscraper was built in Warsaw.
Day 6 - 7th October 2012
Today we went to the market. Here we spent the remainder of our roubles. We spent most of our time amazed by the high quality of every product on every stall. After much haggling and a great deal of roubles spent most of the group had no money left and all of the items they wanted to bring back home.
Afterwards we set off towards the airport. On arrival we thought check in would be rather easy however the machine had broken making a job that would take a couple of minutes last almost an hour. Finally we had made it through customs and our bags had been checked in and we were on the plane back home, all of us tired and reflecting on what a brilliant week it had been.
Leading Russian Space Scientist Visits Trentham High
Professor Alexander Martynov, Head of the Foreign Relations Department of the City of Korolev, the home of the Russian Space Mission Control is an engineer who sees no problem in sending humans to Mars. His message to 400 young people to our students and those from Haywood, St Peters and Thistly Hough High School in the audience was “We are planning to send man to Mars in 2035, but we don’t yet know exactly how it can be done. You are the scientists, doctors, pilots, engineers and psychologists of the future. You will come up with the ideas to make it happen!”
Professor Martynov showed a video of some of his friends at work. The Soyuz rocket launches them into space, which he said was not a pleasant experience for the astronauts who briefly feel a force of 25Gs . They take the scenic route, orbiting the Earth for 2 days to acclimatise themselves to weightlessness, before docking with MIR to start a six month stay in space. A video showed the astronauts eating from plastic tubes of food reconstituted with water taken from the atmosphere in MIR; being strapped down to a treadmill whilst running up to seven miles a day in order to keep their bones and joints healthy for re-entry to gravity; playing games in weightlessness; washing with water that looked like hair gel floating around in front of their faces; and even having to use a vacuum cleaner when having a haircut, so that debris didn.t float off around the capsule. But life on MIR is hard work. The three astronauts conduct medical experiments and work outside the Space Station for up to seven hours at a time. Professor Martynov explained how leaving the Space Station to go outside was one of the hardest steps, psychologically, to take.
So why go to Mars? Professor Martynov explained that it was the most similar planet to Earth, with evidence of water flow in the past, now mostly frozen. Methane was discovered in 2003 which may indicate biological organisms and possible geological processes. There is evidence of asteroid bombardment. Investigating these effects may help us understand the Earths climate changes and how life begins, or ends. In addition he explained that the only reliable way of detecting life on Mars was to dig 60m into the Martian soil and that this was only possible with a manned mission.
Professor Martynov concluded his presentation by saying. We need your help to tackle the problems of realisation. How do we cope with the psychological adaptation to a two year trip in space when it takes 20 minutes for the radio signal to reach Earth, even in an emergency? How do we wash clothes? How do we recycle waste?