Alexander Skvortsov Recounts Recently Completed ISS Mission

Alexander Skvortsov at a post-flight news conference in February 2020. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov gave his post-flight conference on February 10, 2020 at Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC). After a 200-day long mission to the International Space Station, on February 6, 2020 he successfully returned to Earth.

Soyuz MS-13 crewed spacecraft commander was glad to share his impressions from the soft landing of the capsule, spoke about the friendly international crew, comfortable Tupolev Tu-204-300 aircraft which took him to Chkalovsky airport, the flight program, etc.

“We had a very resultative mission – the 61st mission crew performed 10 spacewalks totaling 61 hours, which is very symbolic. Christina Koch performed six spacewalks, Andrew Morgan performed seven spacewalks equaling Anatoly Solovyov in the number of spacewalks during one mission. He might set a record, I am very glad for him. This was his first spaceflight and he is growing by leaps and bounds, a true professional,” Skvortsov said.

Head of GCTC Pavel Vlasov highly praised Alexander Skvortsov’s work who performed all the researches and experiments even despite the non-routine situations.

“We had to deal with one of the non-routine situations we are training here at the Center. When we learned about the problems with the docking unit, we had to get the vehicle away from the station and redock our spacecraft. The reason turned out to be not that big – one of the cables got disconnected, it happens under zero-g. So the problem was solved after testing, now the unit is fully functional and the station is ready to receive crews. The ISS is totally fine,” Skvortsov noted. Speaking about the mutual relations at the station, he said that the station is a remarkable example showing people of various views, cultures and beliefs can work together and achieve maximal results.

“All the mission crew members are trained well, so we managed fulfilling the flight program and have a rest. Luca is a perfect guitar player; we even had a crew song. We had joint dinners – this kind of human contact helps a lot, I enjoyed the flight very much,” Alexander Skvortsov added.

The numerical order of the mission – 13 also got some attention at the press conference. Alexander Skvortsov noted that despite the fact that pilots are superstitious, Luca Parmitano shared that he served in the 13th squadron and persuaded everyone that’s a lucky number – and that was the way it worked with the spacecraft Soyuz MS-13 completing its mission without any issues.

The media also asked about the discussed leveling down the requirements towards the cosmonaut candidates. According to Pavel Vlasov, the required health conditions are set by an old order of the Ministry of Defense.

“Of course given our today’s experience some points might be reviewed – and that’s the way it was with the first requirements to the first cosmonaut team. We are now working with GCTC medics to see if it is possible. For example, we cannot ease up on cardiovascular system requirements – and you know it yourself. However as far as sharpness of sight is concerned, we widened the possible deviation range,” Vlasov said. He also added that the initiative to change the rules can turn up only after a consolidated position is reached that such leveling is possible.

In turn, Alexander Skvortsov added that the requirements are not excessive. “Zero-g is nice and funny, but there are factors that are potentially dangerous. It’s not for nothing that we do sports at the station for two hours every day.”