Posted: 06.03.2024 17:31:58

Anastasia Lenkova's mother: I couldn't let my daughter go to Baikonur without mascot

On March 6th, the crew of ISS-71/VE-21 was solemnly escorted to the Baikonur Cosmodrome at the Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Centre in Zvyozdny Gorodok. As part of the 21st expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), there are two Belarusians at once – participants of the space flight Marina Vasilevskaya and Anastasia Lenkova. Earlier, they successfully passed comprehensive exam training together with VE-21 Commander Oleg Novitsky, NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson, Soyuz MS Commander Ivan Vagner and ISS flight engineer Donald Pettit from the United States. Their relatives and friends came to Russian Zvyozdny Gorodok to take the crew to Baikonur.

Natalia Lenkova, the mother of Belarusian Anastasia Lenkova, who joined the backup crew, shared her impressions, “I felt excited when I found out that my daughter decided to try herself. She achieved everything in life on her own, taking small steps to fulfil her desires. As a mother, I am extremely happy to see my daughter getting closer to her goal. I was very worried during the preparation. We constantly called each other, even several times a day – it calmed me down. Now we will support our daughter from Minsk.”

Natalia Lenkova noted that Anastasia really wants to go into space, “My daughter has been buying and reading magazines about space since childhood, studying and dreaming of flying into space. I think her dream will come true very soon. And today I couldn't let my daughter go to Baikonur without a mascot, so I presented her a figurine of Neznaika [literary character famous for his adventures].”

Now the contacts of the crew will be considerably narrowed, and after its departure to Baikonur, the space six will start a period of observation. Two weeks later, on March 21st, the crew will fly into space on the Soyuz MS-25 manned transport spacecraft. The duration of work in orbit is 12 days. The programme is short, but quite intense. During the VE-21, it is planned to perform eight experiments – targeted works, four of them are new ones.