Sunday, November 8, 2015

Six Women Complete Their Simulated Flight to Moon

From left, Daria Komissarova, Tatyana Shuguyeva, Polina Kuznetsova, Inna Nosikova, Anna Kussmaul and Elena Luchitskaya answer questions after the eight-day imitation flight to the moon at a mock-up spaceship, in Moscow, Russia, Nov. 6, 2015. Credit: AP

Six women aged from 22 to 34 who embarked on a simulated flight to the Moon last week have completed the project and left the mock-up spacecraft after nine days, the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems said on Friday. "The girls were greeted by their families, colleagues, and representatives of the Russian Space Agency, as well as guests from NASA and the European and Japanese space agencies," the institute’s spokesman said.

The experiment launched on Oct. 28 was expected to last for eight days but was extended by one day due to a ‘hurricane’ on Earth, which prevented the spacecraft from landing, the spokesman said.

"We know that sometimes cosmonauts have to wait a long time for re-entry, so we were prepared," said flight commander Elena Luchitskaya. "It was hard to but we needed the extra time to complete our work."

The girls, all of them employees of the institute, had to face another problem during the mock-up flight, an injury of one of the crewmembers, a dummy.

The mock-up flight’s program included 30 experiments that can be later carried out onboard the International Space Station (ISS).

One of the tasks was to find a missing Moon rover and collect lunar soil samples but none of the girls coped with the mission, said one of the participants, Darya Komissarova.

The girls were staying onboard a mock-up environment of six cabins, kitchen, bathroom and gym akin to life on the ISS.

"To those who said we'd end up ripping each other's hair out: we didn't even come close to that," Daria Komissarova told the dozens of journalists that greeted the women as they exited the space capsule installed at the Institute of Biomedical Problems.

The Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems has carried out dozens of similar experiments since 1967. The first mission, launched in 1967, replicated 12 months on a spacecraft.

A new mock-up mission is scheduled for 2016.

Credit: TASS

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