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11 April 2024, 12:04

Marina Vasilevskaya awarded Hero of Belarus title 

MINSK, 11 April (BelTA) - Marina Vasilevskaya, the first cosmonaut in the history of sovereign Belarus, was awarded the Hero of Belarus title by President Aleksandr Lukashenko in a solemn ceremony at the Palace of Independence on 11 April, BelTA has learned.

The Hero of Belarus title is the highest degree of distinction and is awarded only once for exceptional services to the state and society associated with the feat performed in the name of freedom, independence and prosperity of the country. 

The head of state presented Marina Vasilevskaya with the Hero of Belarus medal and a cosmonaut certificate during the ceremony attended by other participants and organizers of the space flight, and Marina  Vasilevskaya’s parents. The head of state handed them the president's letters of commendation. 

Belarusian Marina Vasilevskaya became the first cosmonaut in the country's sovereign history. She was selected as a member of the prime crew of Visiting Expedition 21 to the International Space Station under the command of Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, a native of Belarus.

The Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft launched into space on 23 March 2024. Marina Vasilevskaya’s flight lasted for 14 days, including 12 days aboard the International Space Station (ISS). While on the ISS Marina Vasilevskaya carried out a research program, which had been developed by the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus in association with Roscosmos and the Russian Academy of Sciences. It included seven experiments: five for the sake of scientific research and two for education purposes. The scientific studies focused on biology, physiology, autonomous operation of space stations, the remote sensing of Earth using photo and video spectrum equipment of Belarusian make already on board the International Space Station. The lactoferrin and probiotics made by scientific organizations of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus were examined as well in order to evaluate the possibility of using them later to create food for cosmonauts. 

The national project to train the first Belarusian cosmonaut was initiated by President Aleksandr Lukashenko. The idea was supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who almost two years ago instructed to ensure the training and space flight of a representative of Belarus. It soon became clear that a woman would be the first to go into space.

Aleksandr Lukashenko paid great attention to the project. The head of state previously visited Zvyozdny Gorodok, repeatedly communicated with Marina Vasilevskaya and her back-up Anastasia Lenkova He has friendly relations with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, a native of Belarus. 

The president also watched the launch of the spacecraft and the landing of the crew from the ISS live.

In general, for three decades the head of state has actively promoted the domestic space industry, although he had many other things to deal with.
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