Cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin’s long road to the stars
Fyodor Yurchikhin always wanted to become a cosmonaut. After high school, he entered the Sergey Ordzhonikidze Moscow Aviation Institute and then worked at the Russian Space Corporation Energia as a controller in the Russian Mission Control Centre. He rose through the ranks to eventually become a lead engineer for the Shuttle-Mir and NASA-Mir programmes. Even though he played a crucial role in Russia’s space programme, he never gave up his dream of reaching space. After 11 years of trying and multiple rejections on medical grounds, Fyodor was accepted as a cosmonaut candidate at the ripe old age of 38. He completed his basic training two years later.
When he was finally tapped to go to the International Space Station, it came as a shock – especially to his wife, who never imagined her 43-year-old husband and father of two daughters would blast off into space. Even after five missions, completing more than 672 days in space and nine spacewalks, Fyodor’s family can’t stop worrying when he’s away ‘at work.’ They believe his last mission was his final one, but Yuri’s not so sure – he says God hasn’t decided yet.
This is a unique opportunity to take a glimpse into the everyday life of a veteran cosmonaut and his family. Whether munching burgers with colleagues at a Texas diner after zero-gravity training or chatting with his wife and daughter over breakfast in their kitchen at home, you might find it’s not that much different from yours.