Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko participates in 60th anniversary of first manned space flight commemoration in Egypt


April 6, 2021, Cairo, Egypt – The Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko has arrived in Egypt to participate in a series of events to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first manned space flight. The events were organised by Rosatom engineering subsidiary Atomstroyexport.

On April 5, Mikhail Kornienko visited Egypt’s Space Agency, where he took part in the flower-laying ceremony at the memorial bust of Soviet pilot-cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin – the first person in the history of the world to fly into outer space. Gagarin and his crew achieved their feat on April 12, 1961.

“The nuclear industry’s participation in the space programme began long before the flight of the first cosmonaut. Several enterprises that are currently part of Rosatom were involved in the ‘lunar’ programme, the creation of a lunar rover, and the creation of the first spacecraft and space nuclear power plants. We are proud of our achievements, not only in energy, but in space exploration. The visit to Cairo of the cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, [recipient of the order of merit of] Hero of Russia, demonstrates that space and advanced technologies are of keen interest to both the scientific community and to Egypt’s younger generation. At one of the many meetings, the young attendees literally did not want to let our cosmonaut go, asking him many questions and showing great interest. And countless photos were taken as souvenirs,” said Grigory Sosnin, VP and El-Dabaa NPP Director of Construction.

Mikhail Kornienko shared his impressions of the visit: “This is my first time in Egypt, though I have seen this country many times from space. I am very glad and proud to be here during this special anniversary. I would like to thank Rosatom’s Engineering Division for the invitation. It is gratifying to see Egyptians continue the work of the pilot-cosmonaut Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin, who took the first flight into open space 60 years ago. I am confident that cooperation between Russia and Egypt in the field of advanced technologies such as nuclear and space will be fruitful.”

A cast of the astronaut’s hand was made during his visit as part of Atomstroyexport’s initiative to create a walk of guests of honour in Egypt.

On the same day, Mikhail Kornienko met with schoolchildren and university students at Cairo’s Child’s Museum. The cosmonaut answered the numerous questions posed by young participants and spoke about his space flights and the unique experience of going into outer space.

On April 6, the cosmonaut was received at a ceremony at the Olympic Centre in Maadi. The ceremony was attended by Egypt’s Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi, Russia’s Ambassador to Egypt Georgy Borisenko, and representatives of Egypt’s Space Agency and Atomstroyexport. The reception also included a photo exhibition on the role of nuclear technologies in space exploration.

For reference:

Mikhail Borisovich Kornienko is a Russian pilot-cosmonaut and the recipient of the order of merit called Hero of Russia.

Kornienko took two space flights. He took his first flight as a Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft flight engineer and a member of the ISS-23/24 expedition. The flight’s duration was 176 days., 1 h., 18 min., and 38 seconds.

He took his second flight as a Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft flight engineer and a participant in the annual (spring 2015 - spring 2016) ISS-43/44/45/46 expedition.  The expedition’s main objectives was to study the behaviour of an organism during long space flights using the latest adaptation techniques during flights to the Moon, asteroids, and ultimately to Mars. This was the first flight with a one-year mission to the ISS.

Mikhail Kornienko made 2 spacewalks during his expeditions. His total time spent working in open space is 12 hours 17 minutes. Over the course of two flights, the total time spent in space was 516 days, 10 hours, 01 minutes, and 08 seconds.