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Russian Woman Selected for Cosmonaut Training

27. November 2012 by Dasha 0 Comments

Meet Anna Kikina, 28, one of Russia’s newest cosmonaut trainees. The Novosibirsk engineer is one of eight lucky recruits chosen in the nation's first open cosmonaut recruitment drive and the only woman to make the cut. However, Anna admits she hasn't always dreamed of traveling to space.

“I decided to try out when I found out an ordinary person now has a chance of going to space,” Kikina said at the press conference.

Russia's Federal Space Agency received 300 applications during the open recruitment drive, and Anna was one of three women to make it to the final stages. However, despite making the cut, Kikina still doesn't have a guaranteed spot on the cosmonaut team. Cosmonaut hopefuls must finish a comprehensive, three-stage training program before ever traveling to outer space, and officials can drop a trainee from the program at any time. The program takes six to seven years to complete, which means Kikina wouldn’t reach space until 2018 at the earliest.

So far, Valentina Tereshkova, Svetlana Savitskaya, and Yelena Kondakova are the only Russian women who have traveled into space, with Kondakova’s 1997 mission marking the last journey. However, Yelena Serova, Russia’s only other cosmonaut trainee, is scheduled to travel to the International Space Station in 2014.
If Kikina does complete the program, it’s not clear which sort of mission she’d contribute to. Anna’s fellow recruits hope to fly to Mars or the Moon, while Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozi believe Russia should establish a permanent base on the moon.

Ria Novosti

Photo: Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut training Center via Ria Novosti