As the 85th Birth Anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first living being to journey into outer space, is celebrated, Nepal's first satellite has started to send signals to Nepal.
What a coincidence, Russian Federation, a pioneer of space technology, presented a bust of Yuri Gagarin to Kathmandu Metropolitan city recently. At a function, the bust was installed at Sankhedhar Park. This bust is a courtesy to strengthening the bilateral relations between Nepal and Russia, which has been defined by mutual respect and cooperation.
Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Bidya Sundar Shakya and Special Guest Cosmonaut Viktor Petrovich Savinykh, who has been twice awarded as Hero of the Soviet Union, installed the bust jointly.
The program was attended by M.S. Nekrasov, President, Russian Nepal Cooperation & Friendship Society, Yuri Yuzhaninov, Charge De’ Affaires, Embassy of Russian Federation in Nepal and other high ranking delegations of Russian Federation.
Russian cosmonaut Viktor Petrovich Savinykh said that he felt really great to be in a country of Mount Everest which he saw from space during his flights. Expressing happiness over the news that Nepal too has sent a satellite in orbit, cosmonaut Viktor Petrovich Savinykh said that it is a great achievement for Nepal.
He said that Russia is ready to provide necessary support to Nepal in space technology. “It will be a matter of pride for us to share our scientific knowledge with Nepal on cosmic technology,” said cosmonaut Viktor Petrovich Savinykh.
Visiting Nepal as a guest to attend inauguration of bust of Yuri Gagrin, first human to reach space, cosmonaut Viktor Petrovich Savinykh shared his thought at Russian Center for Science and Culture.
With a collaboration of RCSC and Kathmandu Metropolitan City, the bust of Yuri Gagrin was unveiled near Rani Pokhari.
Selected as a cosmonaut on December 1, 1978, he was retired on February 9, 1989. During 10 years, he flew as Flight Engineer on Soyuz T-4, Soyuz T-13 and Soyuz TM-5. He has spent 252 days 17 hours 38 minutes in space.
Clearing the medical tests and getting selected for training to become a cosmonaut is the most difficult part, said Viktor Petrovich Savinykh, a Russian cosmonaut.
When Russia invited applications in 1960s to train and select cosmonauts, more than 500 persons turned up for the selection. Many were dropped during the fitness test and only 20 selected to undergo training.
Health and flying skills are the two important criteria to become a cosmonaut, he said.
In 1978 a six-member team was selected to undergo training. Savinykh was one of them. His first mission to space was in 1981. The second one was in 1985 and the final one, 1988. Among the three, the second was the toughest trip to the cosmos, he said.
Sharing the details about the second trip, Savinykh said he and his team were sent to locate a space shuttle, which was lost in the orbit. There was no communication and signal with the shuttle, which was in orbit. The team with Savinykh traced the shuttle and, after a struggle for over two weeks, the problems in the space shuttle were identified and rectified.
During the first mission, Savinykh spent 75 days in space and in the second mission; his stay got extended due to the problems in the space shuttle. It took nearly 170 days during the second visit, he said.
Before the journey of human beings to space, Russia sent two canines and they successfully returned. Only after their successful return to the earth, Russia sent Yuri Gagarin and his team to the space.
Savinykh is visiting the country at the invitation of RCSC. A photography exhibition was also held on the occasion.
During the press meet, Director of RCSC Yuliya Androsova, Director of RCSC, said that cosmonaut Viktor Petrovich Savinykh visit to Nepal is taking place in very important occasion. She said that unveiling bust of Yuri Gagarin will be very important occasion in symbolizing good relations between the two countries.
Dhruba Maharjan, president of mitrakunj and Nahendra Pradhan, immediate past president of Mitrakunj also spoke on the importance of the day.