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Anatoly Solovyev - the Russian Spacewalk World Record Holder
    2008-09-24 18:13:39     CRIENGLISH.com

Yesterday we introduced to you a Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang, who will perform a spacewalk during the upcoming manned space mission. Today, we introduce you to a Russian cosmonaut, who holds the world record for the most spacewalks.

He is Anatoly Yakovlevich Solovyev. He conducted 16 spacewalks which lasted 82 hours.

During his career, Solovyev spent more than 650 days in space, and visited Russia's Mir space station five times. Today, our reporter Wang Ling brings you his story.

Anatoly Yakovlevich Solovyev was born in 1948. During the 1970s, he was a senior pilot and group commander in Russia's Far Eastern Military District. In 1976, he became a student-cosmonaut at the "Yuri A. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center".

Three years later, he completed his general space training and became a test pilot third class and a test cosmonaut. In 1987, Solovyev became the commander of a back-up crew for an expedition to the Mir Space Station.

Anatoly Solovyev's first spaceflight took place in 1988, and lasted nine days. Two years later, Colonel Solovyev accomplished a long-duration flight aboard the Mir station, which lasted 179 days. During that period, Solovyev conducted his first spacewalk which lasted seven hours. Solovyev says he gained precious experience from this walk.

"When I stepped out of the capsule, I was surrounded by the vacuum of space. I was overwhelmed by complicated feelings. I had a strong sense of responsibility to finish my tasks, and I was also very cautious. I told myself to be careful. I was so nervous that I clung to my belts. Of course, I felt more relaxed when I conducted spacewalks later on. Anyway, it is quite natural to react this way to such a strange environment."

Anatoly Solovyev successfully docked his spacecraft to the space station more than a dozen times, and he says careful preparation was extremely important for the success of these operations.

"I treated every single one of my spacewalks seriously, because there could always be unpredictable problems. I could not expect experts on the ground to solve all the problems I encountered in space, so I had to make detailed preparations. Each time before I conducted a spacewalk, I would work out as many emergency scenarios as possible."

Anatoly pointed out that astronauts could be affected by many factors encountered in the weightless space environment. For instance, there is strong ultraviolet radiation and potentially harmful cosmic dust in space. In this regard, he stressed astronauts should make careful physical and psychological preparations in consultation with doctors and experts.

Taking himself as an example, Anatoly Solovyev says proper diets during space flights are crucial.

"I used to conduct seven separate spacewalks during one flight. I had my meals during the intervals, and I quickly regained my strength after each spacewalk. High-calorie food is needed for astronauts, as they are easily drained of strength after spacewalking."

Now, as China is set to launch its third manned spacecraft and the Chinese astronauts to conduct extra activities, Anatoly Solovyev sends his best regards.

"My congratulations go firstly to the scientists and experts who are involved in this space mission. I also hope the Chinese astronauts will have a successful spacewalk, for it is quite important for China's future aerospace undertakings. If we want to establish space stations, to carry out big space projects, to do scientific research in space, or even to live in space, spacewalking is the basic requirement. I believe the Chinese astronauts will do a good job."

For Beyond Beijing, I'm Wang Ling.



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