In the Army Now 12 August 2017 3 104
Back in the hangar, Anna and Pavel observe their rocket being assembled. They learn some space industry jargon as well as the meaning behind the Russian Space Forces’ insignia. For the “bloom of the iron flower”, they visit the launch control centre. Anna becomes the first woman to hold one of the keys that launches a rocket.
It turns out that a successful rocket launch in Plesetsk requires a combination of science, religion and superstition. Not long after Anna finds out that a female name is written on all rockets as a lucky charm, a Russian Orthodox priest arrives. He recruits Pavel as a sexton and proceeds to bless the rocket, the mission, and everyone involved.
Fun fact: the spaceport was built in the city of Mirny because its skies are almost always overcast, making it very difficult to spy on the location by satellite. Today, however, Pavel and Anna get lucky: the skies clear for the launch of their rocket, and they are able to admire it in its full glory.
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