This past weekend we lived up to the name of the street our office is located on – the “Allee der Kosmonauten”, German for Alley of the Cosmonauts.
As some of you might know, our chief strategy officer Rolf Erdmann is a trained astronaut. On Friday, he surprised us with a visit to our office together with his friend and colleague – Russian Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.
Oleg has spent 365 days and 23 hours in space during a total of 2 missions (ISS Expeditions 39/40 and 55/56) and went on three spacewalks. He had a short meet and greet with everyone, answered some questions and talked about his life in space, daily routines, preparation to fly, and future plans of Roscosmos.
One question was if Oleg perceived the launch or the landing of his missions as harder. He described that “the landing is way harder because it is more dangerous. During the start, it is no problem to use the emergency system where you will get out of the spacecraft with 20G, which even saves you in case of an explosion or other unfortunate events. The chance of surviving is drastically lower if something goes wrong because you are only equipped with a parachute while you’re surrounded by plasma and other dangerous materials.”, Oleg chuckles. “The launch is similar to the one of a plane, you go full throttle – but when coming back you have to land on a specific, small place and make sure not to land on a mountain or in the sea.”
Someone asked if the start and landing are more enjoyable or if they require full concentration and dedication. Oleg explained that for his first mission, he was a board engineer and seated on the left side. He jokingly described the right seat as being first class because the person sitting on the left has more technical jobs to do.
A further question was if Oleg felt isolated and alone during his time in space. He described how the crew spent most of their time working out, playing soccer, chess and table tennis. A burst of laughter within the room came up at his answer, considering how absurd it would look to play table tennis in space.
As the last big discussion topic, Oleg also gave us some information on Roscosmos’ future plans. He explained that
Russia plans to have a lunar base station by 2030.
He also brought his space suit (the Sokol suit) and some of our employees had the chance to try it on and then gave away personalized autographs to everyone. Oleg was also interested in our ALQ, since he had seen it in the movie “Alien:Covenant” on the ISS, and had speculated with his colleagues whether it was a real rover.
In case of a capsule depressurization during the launch or landing, the suit can give enough life support in terms of heat regulation and oxygen flow in a vacuum for roughly 125 minutes. At the same time – due to its’ lighter weight compared to other suits – it can be inflated and used as a floatation device for possible water landings.
If you want to have an insight on Oleg’s life during his ISS missions, have a look at his YouTube channel.