Originally created 01/26/99

Cosmonaut offers glimpse of mission



A Russian cosmonaut who spent nearly a year on Mir gave Augustans a glimpse inside the space station Monday -- and even joked about the persistent computer problems that plagued the crews.

"Perhaps you've heard that we had some problems with the computers on the Mir," Cmdr. Talgat Musabayev joked during his Space Week speech at Fort Discovery.

In celebration of Space Week, the Savannah River Site chapter of the National Management Association is sponsoring the visit of Cmdr. Musabayev, a member of the Russian Air Force, and James H. Gerard and Ron Woods from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Throughout the week, Cmdr. Musabayev will visit schools in Richmond, Columbia and Aiken counties. Meanwhile, Mr. Woods and Mr. Gerard will conduct hands-on workshops for local teachers and their students.

At the week's kickoff event, Cmdr. Musabayev showed association members, educators and local students his homemade movie Talgat In Space, which detailed his more than 300 days in space.

During his two Mir missions in 1994 and 1998, Cmdr. Musabayev was involved in medical experiments on human immunity and the effects of space on the human body, among other things.

"I want to show how much work is entailed and the amount of experimentation that's done with each crew," he said, narrating the video with the help of a translator from Fort Gordon.

"All this work is being done for the future and the future of mankind," he said. "This is going to help us understand how long a person can be in space and how they can survive interplanetary travel."

Cmdr. Musabayev showed the audience of about 300 people footage of a spacewalk -- or extravehicular activity -- he took aboard Mir.

"This is very dangerous work and also very physically demanding," he said through his translator. "Just to simply close the fist, it requires the force of 15 kilograms. And you're talking five or six hours of this type of work."

Soon, astronauts and cosmonauts will be doing the same type of work in their construction of the International Space Station, Cmdr. Musabayev said. He has been selected to return to space in December as part of an American crew that is helping build the new station.

Amy Joyner can be reached at (706) 823-3339 or amyjoyn@augustachronicle.com.