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The plight of the cosmonauts of the Russian space program - a cosmonaut's salary - $300 a month

Mara in my heart

Does anyone remember Yuri Gagarin?

Photo: IP
Students at the International Space School in Baikonur
in Kazakhstan. The average salary of a cosmonaut is
300 dollars

Ivan Pozdaev and his classmates
at the International Space School in the city
In Ikonur, Kazakhstan, a rocket is lit
that we built from Coca Cola bottles
and smile when he flies up to
Beyond the treetops. But the boy
The 12-year-old hesitates when asked if
He wants to be a cosmonaut
when he grows up So maybe a rocket scientist?
"Maybe", he says and pulls
in his shoulders

Even here in Baikonur - which was established
in the steppes of Kazakhstan to serve as the center
The secret of the space program
The Soviet - very difficult to convince

Young Russians choose a career as cosmonauts within the space program,
which suffers from the lack of budgets.

For Russia this is a pressing problem: the people who work in its space program are
Most of them are experts hired at the beginning of the space age. Many are now in their late years
They are in their fifties or early sixties, and they are planning their retirement. the state
Now a new generation needs to be trained to take their place.

"Unfortunately, there is little interest among young people," admitted Igor Barmin,
The chief engineer of the launch pad at Baynokur, from which the satellite was launched in 1957
The first was Sputnik and four years later - cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
"This is a difficult problem, for which we currently do not have a solution," Barmin added.

"The Russians are in trouble," said James Oberg, author of the book Interstellar Trajectories:
Within the Russian-American space alliance". "It is already clear that their space program
You will be seriously injured. In order to transfer this kind of knowledge to new people, you have to work
You have been close for years."

One of the problems facing the Russians is convincing young people to give up their salaries
the higher that offers a career in business and choose instead a career in the program
Space, where a cosmonaut's salary is $300 a month.

"If you look at the Russian space program today, what you see is a bunch of
Older people who get not so good salaries to create options
A vacation for bored millionaires," said space commentator John Pike
Referring to the fact that Russia allows space tourists to stay on the space station
international for a fee.

Officials in the Russian space program dispute that description, but admit that there is a shortage
The budget makes it difficult for them to initiate projects that attract attention.

Instead the Russians focused on international projects, which receive their budget
from several countries. But by the nature of such projects, they do not evoke emotions
Patriotic like those who woke up in the face of projects like the Mir spacecraft.

In the Soviet era, the space program produced hero after hero, and children dreamed
Be the next Gagarin or replace the chief designer Sergei Korolev. also
The more junior employees in the space program were considered the epitome of success
the soviet

Today the space program workers live in crumbling houses and are forced to live without water
warm for weeks. They also feel disconnected, because the city's plan
The space is now in a republic that broke away from Russia. Dimitri Shatlov, house manager
The International Space Book has to deal with this harsh reality. but he
optimistic. Now he worries that the students won't get too close to an old missile
which is in the school yard. "These kids still don't know how to launch a rocket
Such, but they will know," he says. "Russia will be in good hands."

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