Redbull hangár

Redbull hangár

2011. április 26., kedd

Two gentlemen from the space

Text and photos: Gabriella

Two friendly middle-aged gentlemen arrived to the auditorium of the Zrínyi Miklós University on 20th April: Bertalan Farkas, the only Hungarian astronaut so far who was in the cosmos and his mate in the space travel, Valeri Kubasov. They held a presentation about the past, present and future of the space flight on the occasion of 50. Gagarin anniversary.

I was eager to know, if they find the same wave with the uniform audience officer students, whose average age was maximum 22, and I felt in the end, that there wasn’t any chasm between the generations. Its main evidence, that they made laugh the youngsters with their stories several times.

Bertalan Farkas shows a newspaper which was issued on the day of Gagrin's space flight

At first, Valeri Kubasov reminisced about the dawn of the space research, the Soviet-American rivalry, in which the previous ones reached the breakthrough, as they got a man to the cosmos first. Then recalling the beginning of his own career, he represented, that he was working as a designer engineer in the institute of Koroliov (engineer, the father of the Soviet space research) at first, when the Vostok-1, Gagarin’s spaceship was just under assembling. Koroliov encouraged his engineers to apply to the space program and Kubasov took a fancy to it, and as he suited for the high criteria, he was selected to an astronaut. What is really interesting, that he continued his original work in the institute between two space flight and the preparations to them. He knew Gagarin personally, even, they prepare together to a common space flight. But when in 67’ an astronaut, named Komarov lost his life in a space journey, the government disabled Gagarin from space flights, because they wanted to preserve their first spaceman. Unfortunately it wasn’t successful, as their national hero has died in a jet accident in the age of 34. Kubasov described his noted colleague as a very benevolent man without any fuss.
When he recalled their common space mission with Bertalan Farkas, he highlighted, that his moustached  fellow-traveller always wanted to see Hungary from the space, but as they always reached our country just in the evening, they sit up many times. It made the audience laugh, when he reminded as they ride the hoover at the space station. It has turned out from his story, that they had to clean up even there and when they switched on this device, air was flowing out from its end and push itself ahead, which gave the idea to the rodeo. An older man from the rows of the public commented it, as now he knows where the Rocket hoover name is from. (It is a former Soviet hoover brand name from the 70s.)
Answering to a question from the audience, he told us, that before his space flights (he was lucky to experience it three times) he always feared of being ill and not allowed to go. So in the end, when the rocket was started under him, he thought that finally he is in the spaceship and nobody can turn him back.
Ha adverted to the unquestionable fact, that the space research has built into our weekdays, has been the part of our life. As the several countries of the world participate jointly in the space program, he’s sure, that if we can step on the Mars once, this would be a result of an international cooperation. Beside it, he is very proud of that his country was the pioneer on this field, but he defines it as the common achievement of civilization.

Valeri Kubasov

After his old friend, Bertalan Farkas took over the microphone, who has been awarded recently by president Medvedev at the celebration event of the Gagarin 50. anniversary, among Russian, Japanese, German, American astronauts, admiring his role in the conquest of space.
In his opinion, space travelling is not that spectacular and hearth robbing any more as it was in the past. But he also thinks, that its results has built into our everyday life, as the working of the mobile telephones, the technical development of aviation and some medicines also are thanked to the space research. He mentioned the material of the heart keys as a concrete example. We could live more than 200 years with them now, while in the past, they had been changed 2 or 3 times with further operations during the lifetime of a patient. Although the changes of the stratosphere can be examined by the scientists from the Earth in these days, he thinks that we will need astronauts henceforward to the research projects which are related to our future.
Turning back to the past, he told, that in the Soviet Intercosmos program in the sixties, the member countries can send only spaceship instruments to the space at first, but later cosmonauts too, thus he was on the Soyuz-36. Among others, they carried on material technology, health biology tests, but what is he proud of the most, that they measure the radiance of the cosmos first time with a Hungarian invention called Pille. Its developed versions have been used on the Salyut, Mir and ISS (international space station) since then.
He told regarding his space flight, that there was a runner machine and a fixed bicycle on the Salyut-6 spaceport. When he was sitting on the second one, he found it very funny, that during 10 minutes cycling, he reached another continent, which would be a big sport achievement in reality.
He is really sorry, that Hungary doesn’t participate in the international space research with and astronaut momently. He thinks, that it is not good to let a train to dash forward if we were on it once. Reading it, obviously some of you think that we have no money for more serious things and I understand them. But I can also understand our cosmonaut, as usually everybody considers his/her own work field is the most important. Otherwise his not just the man of words, his deeds is also very talkative. He is the founding member of the Association of Space Explorers ( and the Space for Earth Foundation ( Both organizations have the same goal: to bring science (and space research inside it) closer to people in an international cooperation, and to apply its result more efficiently in the interest of our future. Otherwise the number of those astronauts who were in the space is just around 500 (which is only the fraction of the mankind) and as Farkas Bertalan says, selected to the cosmonaut training is a big honor, but entering the space is an even higher level.
He mentioned, that the next yearly conference of the Space Explorers is planned to hold at Budapest in 2012 September and hopefully many astronauts will visit Budapest on this occasions. So there will be a possibility to chase cosmonauts, although it will be difficult to recognize them without their spacesuitJ

Finally a bonus video. Most probably the organizers would have liked to play this one at the presentation, but ‘technical support team’ at the venue couldn’t solve it. Although if it had the same bad picture quality, then I don’t mind it J

As for the quality of the photos, I do beg your pardon. Helen couldn’t join me and her new camera obeys only its master – as it has turned out. I guess I flashed into the eyes of the astronauts some times, but they were really friendly and gave me autograph even so. You can see Kubasov’s sign  above and Bertalan Farkas’s under.

I would like to say a big thank you to my friend Dezső, because I even didn’t know about this interesting event without him.


More photos of the spacemen: