Kazakhstan's Aidyn Aimbetov reveals his childhood dream to become astronaut
Kazakhstan’s cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov has known from his early childhood what profession he would choose when he grows up. He has been dreaming of flying to space since he was a child, Tengrinews TV reports.
Aimbetov still remembers the moment when he began to cherish his dream. "I will tell my story. Once (in my childhood), when my father and I finished our work at the hayfield and we were lying in the haystack and staring at the starry sky, something flared in the sky. It was a bolide. I asked my father what it was. He explained it to me and since then I have been interested in stars, spaceflights and had steadily been moving towards my goal of becoming an astronaut," Aimbetov shared.
He had done a lot of hard work to make his dream come true. "Almost all my childhood I went in for sports. I started doing well in school and (after graduating) I was enrolled in the military aviation school. At that time, military pilots had the biggest chance to be selected for the cosmonaut class. I was an A student, but there was one period, when my friends and I were behaving like hooligans up to the point that professors summoned us at their meeting, where we had to report to them everything we had done,” Aimbetov said.
Aidyn Aimbetov ©TengrinewsTV.kz
All his hard work finally paid off in 2002, when he was selected for the first and only Kazakh astronaut class out of 2,000 candidates. He then trained as an astronaut at the Star City for the next six years.
He was initially scheduled to fly to the ISS in autumn 2009, but his flight was canceled due to the global financial crisis that made Kazakhstan implement austerity measures and cut the funding.
The highlight of his career came this year, when famous British soprano Sara Brightman, who was to fly to the ISS, called off her almost $50 million space trip for family reasons followed by her back-up - Japanese Satoshi Takamatsu - also cancelling his flight.
Consequently, Kazakh astronaut Aidyn Aimbetov had a spot to join the crew. The Central Asian county's application was approved by Roscosmos in June.
Kazakhstan’s cosmonaut recalled the moment when he learnt that he was approved to fly to the ISS. "It is the same feeling when a person graduates from school well, enters the university he wanted or a military school. This was a great joy. I had a very good feeling when I first flew an aircraft during flight training. It was a superb feeling incomparable with anything else. When I learnt that there was a opportunity to take part in the spaceflight and (thus) achieve my goal, I was very happy," he said.
Once he was approved for the spaceflight, in early July, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev had a meeting with him, during which Aimbetov updated him on the preparation progress and shared his successful results on all the required flight tests and exams.
The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft blasted off from Baikonur cosmodrome in central Kazakhstan on September 2. The spacecraft successfully docked Poisk (MIM-2) module, the lesser research module of the ISS, on Friday morning to days later.
Aimbetov took the flag of Kazakhstan to the space flight. He decided to do so back in 2004 during the live broadcast with the President of Kazakhstan. "I said then that the time will come when the national symbols of Kazakhstan will be in the orbit. It turns out that it is coming true,” he said.
Apart from the country’s national symbols, Aidyn Aimbetov also took a talisman on board - a toy that his youngest daughter sewed for him before his departure. “Well, as an ordinary person, I took a stuffed toy with me. It is a gift from my youngest daughter," he said.
Aidyn Aimbetov's daughter ©TengrinewsTV.kz
While at the ISS, Aimbetov is conduct a number of researches. Before his departure he shared the details of the experiments he is going to carry out on board of the station. “I would to like to tell about one experiment. Kazakhstan’s scientists have created one specific device. As you know, any material absorbs radiation and then emits it. The radiation in orbit exceeds 200 times the radiation on the Earth and during a flight, astronauts usually record millisieverts (a measure of the absorption of radiation by the human body). For example, the radiation my body absorbs has been recorded before departure and the same will be done in the orbit. I will take the dosimeter (a device used to measure an absorbed dose of ionizing radiation) with me and then the radiation level in by body will be measured when we are back on the Earth," he elaborated.
In addition, researchers will also analyze the interaction of the crewmembers. Furthermore, the astronauts will monitor the Earth surface to determine the likelihood of natural disasters.
The main crew. ©TengrinewsTV.kz
Soyuz TMA-18M Russian commander Sergei Volkov highlighted that people did not become cosmonauts randomly. “Aidyn was part of the Russian squad as a representative of Kazakhtan; he was training together with us in the Star City (Russian town). They all are motivated and dedicated people. A spaceflight requires more efforts and energy than training. So they have done a great job and in general, I have no doubt about the crew. We are ready to fly. I am happy for them and I am pleased to be on the same team with him," he said before the take off.
By Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina