MINSK, 16 August (BelTA) – The meeting of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and the cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky lasted for about two hours and proceeded in a very friendly atmosphere. Various topics were raised during the meeting. The cosmonaut revealed some details to mass media, BelTA has learned.
Oleg Novitsky said: “We've raised a great deal of topics. First, we talked about cosmonautics and Belarus' role as a space power. We talked about various directions in science development, spacecraft engineering, and in studying Earth from the outer space.”
In his words, a lot of attention was paid to raising kids and to patriotism. “The day before me and my family went to the Brest Fortress Memorial. We dedicated a good deal of time to the matter [during the conversation],” noted the cosmonaut.
“Time passed quickly while we were talking. Honestly speaking, I didn't expect I would be able to talk to the president for so long,” admitted Oleg Novitsky.
It was Oleg Novitsky's second meeting with the Belarusian head of state. “The first meeting took place after the first flight. I was lucky and honored to be walking next to him as part of the column to lay flowers at the Victory Monument on 9 May. It was awesome to get my spirits up like that after the first flight,” said the cosmonaut.
“Even after the first flight I said I intended to live in the country I had been born in. I'd love to take care of building a home. Instead of an apartment I'd love to live in a private house of my own. Maybe because I spent my entire childhood in a house like that. Since I have some time, I will try to at least start it,” said Oleg Novitsky.
The cosmonaut remarked that his further work would likely involve preparations for the next flight. “This is why I'd like to use as much time as possible during this vacation,” he said.
“It is an Omega watch. It is a limited series certified for operation in outer space, in particular, operation in vacuum. They are worn as part of the space suit. The crew can use it even before they reach the station. And the same watch is used for spacewalking,” explained Oleg Novitsky.
Oleg Novitsky said he was not a straight A level student when he was in school. “I had my share of A's and B's. I got the relevant school graduation certificate after finishing the tenth form,” he said.
The cosmonaut said it is important to set the right goals in one's life and to aim higher than one's own performance. “Then your results will be much higher. Naturally you have to go in for sports. It was a welcomed pastime in my time. All of us were delighted to go in for sports. When I was preparing for flight school entrance exams, I even set higher goals – I ran more than necessary and tried to run faster than necessary,” he said.
Asked about how he spends his time on vacation, Oleg Novitsky said he was spending a lot of time talking to mass media. “This is why I'd love to tone it down a bit. I'd love to stay at home, help my mother with something, and talk to brothers, sisters, and friends. I think this time will come soon,” noted the cosmonaut.
Oleg Novitsky continues taking exercises and runs in the morning. “I ran this morning. I run as much as the body wants to. Running very little is bad. Running a lot is difficult. You have to do everything with pleasure, particularly on vacation. I run 4-5km on average,” he said.
The cosmonaut said he liked the city very much. “It has retained its own interesting kind of architecture. It is well-maintained. The meeting with the mayor was good. He told me the history of the city. We took a walk along Sovetskaya Street. We saw sights. It was awesome,” Oleg Novitsky said. “We agreed that I will visit the city once again for sure. Maybe not during this vacation. But I will definitely stay overnight in order to see how a special worker lights street lamps manually.”
“I will face a major medical examination in December or possibly in January. The medics will determine my body's readiness for the next flight. If things are okay, I will be able to start training,” said the cosmonaut.