Kazakh astronaut Aidyn Aimbetov to make research in space
Kazakhstan’s astronaut Aidyn Aimbetov will conduct a number of studies during his 10 day space flight on board the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft to the International Space Station that will start on September 2 at 10.30 a.m. (Astana time). He will fly along with Russian astronaut Sergei Volkov and European Space Agency flight engineer Andreas Mogensen in the main crew, Tengrinews reports citing the Chairman of the Aerospace Committee (Kazcosmos) of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Investments and Development Talgat Mussabayev.
“The scope of Aidyn Aimbetov’s responsibilities during his space mission will include operating the certain systems of the spaceship as well as implementing the fifth scientific program of space research and experiments of Kazakhstan on ISS, which was developed by the National Center of Space Research and Technologies of Kazcosmos,” he told Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency.
The program will be a continuation of four previous scientific programs carried out by Toktar Aubakirov in 1991 and the first ethnic Kazakh to fly to the outer space Talgat Mussabayev in 1994, 1998 and 2001.
The main goal of this space exploration program is to discover new fundamental data that will be used to solve socio-economic problems and implementing high technologies in various sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy, he said.
In particular, Aidyn Aimbetov will conduct environmental and geophysical monitoring, during which he will take pictures of ecologically critical areas of Kazakhstan, such as the Aral Sea, once the fourth largest lake in the world, which is close to disappearing completely from the world’s map now. He will also capture dust storms in the surrounding area that emerge because of the sea bottom drying up as well as oil spills in the Caspian Sea.
In addition, Aimbetov will study the upper atmosphere in thunderstorm active areas.
In the end, the collected data will enable Kazakhstani researchers to estimate the economic and environmental damage caused by environmental pollution, the climate change in the country’s ecologically critical areas and the risk of emergencies.
The program also includes physical and technical researches. Scientists from Almaty-based Al-Farabi Kazakh National University will study physical properties of charged micro particles in microgravity, a zero gravity condition. They will get a new structure, the so-called Coulomb Crystal that cannot be produced on Earth. The result of their work can be then used in thermonuclear (fusion) energy, plasma medicine, production of new structural nanocomposite materials and nanoscale equipment, Mussabayev said.
Furthermore, Kazakhstani scientists from the Institute of Human and Animal Physiology will study Aimbetov’s ability to operate in a real space flight, his psychophysiological state in stressful conditions and their effect on him, he added.
Besides, Kazakhstan's National Institute of Nutrition prepared an interesting experiment. During his trip, Aimbetov together with other members of the crew will try eight Kazakh national dishes, including beshbarmak, ayran and irimshik.
Meanwhile, the main crew is passing a two-day comprehensive exam training in Star City, Russia. It will test the crew members' performance on board, their ability to use the equipment and systems as well as timely detect failures and determine their causes.
On August 6, the main crew passed an exam on a full-scale mock-up of the ISS Russian segment, while the backup crew consisting of Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Sergey Prokopiev and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet trained on a spacecraft simulator. On Friday, they change places.
Following the end of the training, on August 10 the meeting of the interdepartmental commission will take place, where they will review the exam results and recommend the crew members for approval.
By Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina