Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky:
We have an amazing Earth
I dreamed of becoming a biologist. At first, I just wanted to be a botanist. Then my interests moved to biochemistry, science, and ended up in the biological faculty of the Moscow State University. In general, I have completely gone off from space.

My grandfather Mikhail Ryazansky was one of the founders of Soviet cosmonautics: he was a member of the six major designers, in 1943 he created the world's first radars, which immediately left his factory for the front. He commanded absolutely boundless respect not only at work, but also in the family.

In 1996 I entered the Institute of Biomedical Problems, where biology and cosmos merged. It was not easy, but an understanding came to me - this I can be doing all my life.
The hardest thing in training for an astronaut is to wait for his first flight
You need to be able to do everything, and therefore, not even the flight, but the preparation itself is quite interesting and unique. Frankly - training is complicated. Our instructors are real professionals, I always thank them with an immense gratitude, because these people train us not only to fly to space, they train us to live there, conduct scientific experiments, treat each other. You are also required to: be fluent in languages , astronomy, physics, chemistry, ballistics, parachute jumps, flights on airplanes, submersion under water - you can enumerate endlessly, more than hundreds of tests and exams, but it is insanely interesting and there is always something new.
It took 10 years of wait for the first takeoff
When I was admitted to the unit, no one guaranteed me a spot on the flight. According to statistics, exactly half of the cosmonauts who received the diploma were able to fly into space. I got lucky.

We have 2 types of space education: test cosmonaut and cosmonaut-researcher. My specialty is cosmonaut and research scientist. The commander of the ship sits in the central chair, the left chair is for the flight engineer with engineering education, and the right chair is for a useful load, for example, a scientist.

After the tragedy with the US shuttle Columbia in 2005, all the spots on the right were bought by our American colleagues. In fact, I had no chance to fly.

I was overwhelmed with a huge desire to prove that a scientist is also a person, and that I can make it. Participation in the Mars-500 experiment allowed me to prove myself.

In the experiment, I was the commander of the crew and proved myself as a professional. As a result, as an exception, I was allowed to undergo training and retake examinations for flight engineer position.
45 minutes light 45 minutes night
The thickness of the ISS wall is only 1.5 mm, if it was thicker, then no powerful rocket carrier would bring it into orbit. There are some tricks - the wall is thin, but if you look from the inside out - its structure is wafer: it has welded edges of rigidity and support systems.

Screen-vacuum heat insulation is arranged as a layered pie: glass fiber cloth - vacuum - foil - vacuum - glass cloth - vacuum - foil and many more layers. It protects against micrometeorites. But its most important purpose is protection from uncontrolled heat exchange. When 45 minutes during daylight - the surface of the station heats up to 100 degrees, 45 minutes in the shadow - and it turns to minus 100 degrees.

During the first flight, we had to evade space debris. There are such maneuvers: at the moment of evasion the station «jumps up», the orbit rises slightly. During the second flight, thank God, all the garbage flew by.
Duration of stay in space is 304 days 23 hours 22 minutes. Time in open space is 27 hours 39 minutes
ISS is a huge scientific laboratory. Each country comes with its own ideas, projects and technologies. When you arrive at the station, having already passed all the exams and knowing the material, you understand that you have to learn anew - no one taught you how everything works in zero gravity.

My first experiment at the station was to take blood from the finger. You'd think, what could be easier: we take a needle, cotton wool and a test tube. When it came to the test-tube, the needle and cotton wool had already flown away. In space there is no convection - the heat does not rise itself, and therefore fans are constantly working.

One quickly learns the order: everything is already tied, glued and stuck. Everything should be in its place.

Astronauts sleep like bats: they climb into an ordinary tourist sleeping bag, and hang as if they were in a cocoon. To ensure that the flow of air is not swept away anywhere, before going to bed, you need to tie a string to the wall, otherwise you can wake up somewhere in another module, which also happened quite a few times. Sleeping at the station is, indeed, remarkable.
On the one hand, you are always at work, and on the other - you climb up in the sleeping bag and you're at home. The weekend differs by the fact that the Earth is forbidden to contact us first. But as soon as you leave the sleeping bag and fly to the computer - the working day has officially began. The monitor already has a list of what needs to be done for today.
When apples and tomatoes arrive, it is a feast for all
Astronauts no longer eat from tubes. Space food - is a ready-made dish - meat with buckwheat or chicken with vegetables, in cans of soft metal. This can be placed in a special oven, 2 iron plates clamped and heated to 60 degrees. You open it and you have a hot main course. Many sublimates: soups of 9-10 species, dry salads, very tasty cottage cheese. Of course, we miss vegetables and fruits, and, I personally miss red caviar.

Cosmic canned food is very tasty, but because of the repetitiveness it becomes too familiar. Therefore, when there is a chance, for example, to make a pizza at the station, the whole team is immensely delighted!

"The designers of the torch did not foresee that someone would drag it into open space, and at the station we slightly modified the design - we made a special wire fastening." Astronauts Sergei Ryazansky and Oleg Kotov took the Olympic torch into outer space.
ISS is a long iron pipe 60 meters in length, the range of a solar battery is about 100 meters. You can perfectly live there, work and conduct experiments. It is designed for 6 people, but at one point Union joined in. It was nine of us, however, there were still only six cabins. It was a bit crowded - we settled one person in a warehouse, the second person in a European scientific module - we moved the equipment and made him a nest there. Misha did not have enough room, so Misha lived on the ceiling.

For mental comfort, a person needs to feel himself in a coordinate system. In the American module you can see hanging signs, such as «floor», «ceiling», the sea terminology is used in the instruction - «the left board», «the right board». Russians have it all simpler - the floor and a ceiling are painted in different colors. Separation of the dining room, living room and bedroom is absent.

My favorite place on the ISS is the Russian segment: there are portholes with excellent clear glass that allows you to take beautiful photographs.
During the second flight I had social networks (@sergeyiss) and subscribers, to whom I am very grateful for psychological support.
Honestly, after the first flight, I admitted to everyone that I failed geography class. In space, you perceive objects differently, somewhere in your mind sits this globe-based thinking.

Blue country, green country, arrow to Luxembourg, Amazon - all signed. The first two weeks I was in shock, because I look and understand that I do not understand anything. A few weeks later, I could distinguish the desert of Africa from the desert of Australia, by the color of the sand. Recognizable objects appeared: the night Ashgabat changes colors every second - it's very beautiful.

Not being able to answer, I still read the comments every day, and, you can not imagine how much this helps you to «build and live». You are in orbit, tired, somewhere upset, but you go on Instagram, VK, Facebook and get feedback - it makes you create more and more.
Every 45 minutes we see a completely unique phenomenon, which can only be seen from outer space: moonrises and sunsets.
The spectacle, when the moon emerges from the ocean and enters the ocean - is remembered for life.
The station has very large lenses. It's hard to imagine a photographer who runs around with an 800 mm lens. Only a person engaged in powerlifting sports can raise it. In zero-gravity, this is more convenient.

For photo processing, I mainly use Lightroom, and on board I use Picasa. On Earth, I get help from professional guys. Occasionally, the cameras are changed, because their matrices burn out from radiation.

The speed of the ISS in orbit is 28,000 km/h and there is a program where a sub-satellite point is displayed. All you have to do is set a time for flying over the desired object, and be ready. I have about 10 seconds to set the camera, focus and take the shot.
I invite you to space
The book «Amazing Earth» appeared after the first flight, from which I brought back 65 000 photos, and only a small number entered into it. At the station, I realized that I was seeing something that, with the exception of five hundred, no one would ever see.

And the most important thing is that it is impossible to convey this in words.

Picking out photos for this book, I wanted to show the various elements of our amazing planet: earth, air, fire, water and, of course, the flight.

From the second flight, I brought back 250 000 photos, and how much time it will take me to process them - I do not know. But there is something to work on, and I'm sure we will do something else interesting.

When you look at the Earth from the outside, you feel love for all life that is on our planet. And you know - this is just «wow»!
On the ISS once a week we have a space skype with family and friends - constant psychological support through communication.

If I were in Mars orbit, and you say «Hello» to me on skype, I'll hear it in 20 minutes. After another 20 minutes you will hear «Hello» back from me.

The Earth will not have the opportunity to contact the crew, adjust its activity, give instructions, help in emergency situations in direct flow. The crew must be self-sufficient and solve the problems that arise.

Similar communication algorithms were developed in Mars 500 project.

I participated in the experiment of 150 diurnal isolation, where you were deprived of any incoming information. No connection to Earth, almost no news. Only your crew, closed volume, constant light, constant atmosphere. Round the clock we watched the systems of our conditional spacecraft.

Technological return from manned flights is very important for humanity. Probably no country in the world alone will draw this project, and it will be an international cooperation.

As soon as we stop quarreling and arguing here on Earth, and as soon as people learn how to live together - we will gather enough money, even for such an expensive project as a flight to Mars.

Artificial boundaries
There, in space, we live in unison, there is a Russian segment on the international space station, European, American, but there are no borders between them. Even screens.

Existing borders - are created by us. Probably, if we gather all the politicians and send them into space, they would understand that it is necessary to live in harmony, and that there is nothing to divide us. The planet is common.

Although, honestly, in this flight I realized that one border is still very clearly visible - this is the border between North and South Korea. It is made of powerful searchlights and can be seen even at night, which is very frustrating.
Our psychologists say that the main problem of astronauts' crews is that the entire crew consists of leaders. These are people who are held as professionals, as individuals. In orbit, everyone should work together, respect each other, feel and support.

An astronaut is a universal specialist, and on the ground he is an experimenter, an expert, and conducts scientific research.

The main activity of an astronaut is the maintenance of the life support systems of the station, to load and unload cargo ships, and to exit into outer space. Of course, to conduct scientific experiments in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and ecology.
Future generation
I am the chairman of the Russian movement of schoolchildren - a platform for children. The most important thing is the unification of children and their upbringing in the right values. We want to bring regional school projects to the all-Russian level. Teach children to work in a team, help relatives, feel like a citizen of our country.

The RMS League implements initiatives in six areas of project activities: personal development, volunteerism, ecology, military-patriotic, information-media, museums, local history and the search movement. At school, or not - any child will be able to take part in projects, participate in competitions, go to free camps, find new friends and find something interesting for themselves.

I'm sure we will find suborbital tourism. And soon, each person will have a chance to fly, at least suborbital.
Nerd - spaceship commander
Motivation appeared just when I realized that I had lost all the chances to fly. It was then that I really wanted to become an astronaut, and prove that they do not need to approach a person on the basis of the lack of a formal engineering education. And it worked!

I really hope that my example will give way to those scientists who will then come to the squad. Those doctors, physicists, astronomers who really want to fly into space and engage in science. Before me it was impossible, I'm sure that by creating this precedent the others will succeed.