Posted: 10.04.2024 09:09:00

Space is ours!

The President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, watched live coverage of the return of Belarusian cosmonaut Marina Vasilevskaya and other members of the Soyuz MS-24 crew from the International Space Station. The Head of State shared his emotions and worries in that regard with journalists of the Belarus 1 TV channel on April 6th while participating in the first game of the Republican Hockey League final series. 

Marina Vasilevskaya — first cosmonaut of sovereign Belarus      Belta
When asked by a journalist if he was worried, Aleksandr Lukashenko replied as follows, “When your kids are in outer space, you will understand what it means when a Belarusian woman, a citizen of Belarus is in outer space. Certainly, I was responsible for anything that may have happened, God forbid. This is why I am certainly glad that everything went routinely. I rewatched the footage several times. I am very pleased that everything is over, and I thought to myself: well, I will not play this game anymore. The emotions are extremely intense, since the night was sleepless. I watched the undocking of the descent module live.”  
Let us remind that the flight began on March 23rd on the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft and took two days, as docking with the ISS took place on March 25th. During the stay on the ISS, Marina Vasilevskaya had to conduct a number of experiments. This includes learning how probiotic strains of lactic acid microorganisms and bifidobacteria behave in zero gravity.
“Belarus, thanks for support!” Marina Vasilevskaya said in the first interview after landing. “I wish all people on Earth to appreciate and cherish everything we have.” 

Marina Vasilevskaya's return to Earth from the International Space Station     BELTA

Marina Vasilevskaya’s 12-day stay on the ISS and the crew’s return to Earth went without surprises. Preparations for landing began almost immediately after arrival at the station. This was partially due to the fact that the crew had to return to Earth on board the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft, which docked at the ISS back in September 2023. Therefore, it was required to move individual seat liners of the cosmonauts and their spacesuits from one ship to another, to do preventive maintenance on the mechanisms for sealing the hatches, to recharge the necessary devices from solar cells, to move the equipment to be returned to Earth, including samples obtained as a result of experiments conducted in orbit. In addition, the crew’s composition changed — Marina Vasilevskaya and Oleg Novitsky were supposed to land on Earth together with NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, who was at the ISS as part of a long-term expedition, instead of American Tracey Dyson.

Marina Vasilevskaya and Oleg Novitsky in Zvyozdny Gorodok        Ilya Shvedko

A soft landing was ensured thanks to the main parachute with an area of 1,000 m2, which opened at an altitude of several kilometres and significantly reduced the descent speed, as well as due to special engines that are fired a few metres above the ground. However, the landing can only be called soft conditionally. At this moment, cosmonauts never talk because the shock of landing is comparable in strength to a collision between a car and a truck, and there is a high probability of biting the tongue or even dislocating the jaw.


The hockey team of the President of Belarus won the first match of the Republican Hockey League final series. On the ice of the capital’s Olympic Arena on April 6th, the squad of the Head of State defeated the hockey players of Minsk Region with a score 5:2 (2:1, 0:1, 3:0).
Artyom Karkotsky and Vitaly Marchenko were recognised as the best players of this match. The prizes were presented to them by Olympic freestyle champion Alla Tsuper. 
Based on materials of and