QMUL student gets a taste of astronaut training

QMUL physics student Kieran Hashmi has recently returned from the trip of a lifetime — experiencing astronaut training in Russia’s famous cosmonaut training complex.

Kieran’s visit began in Moscow’s Red Square, the scene of Yuri Gagarin’s celebratory parade after his return from space in 1961, and he also visited what remains of Russia’s own space shuttle, the Buran, which was destroyed in 2002 when its hangar collapsed.

He then arrived in Star City, home of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre. There he lived in the complex alongside experienced astronauts, including our very own British-born NASA astronaut, Mike Foale. Kieran was involved in a range of training activities from Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) suit training by Yuri Gagarin’s actual flight instructor, to wilderness survival training and MIR station training.

“It was unequivocally one of the best weeks I’ve ever experienced. Hopefully one day I can return, not as an enthusiastic student, but as someone who works directly in sending us humans to the edges of space and beyond”, said Kieran of his visit.

Kieran was one of the winners of a competition jointly hosted by SEPnet and the University of Kent’s Department of Physical Sciences, offering the opportunity for two SEPnet physics students to attend the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre to develop their team building and communication skills by training like the real cosmonauts and astronauts.