Space engineers to improve space equipment

The sixth long-term expedition to the International Space Station has set space engineers the task of further improving space equipment, said first deputy head of the Energia rocket-space corporation Nikolai Zelenshchikov on Monday.

He spoke at the ceremonial meeting of the expedition in the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in the Star City.

"Captain of the expedition Kenneth Bowersox /the USA/, flight engineer Nikolai Budarin /Russia/ and scientific expert, flight engineer Donald Pettit /the USA/ for the first time tested the new pilot-controlled spaceship Soyuz TM-1, and the test showed that its control and soft landing systems required further development. For example, the soft landing device has not been upgraded for 25 years," Zelenshchikov said.

Representatives of Rosaviakosmos, NASA, the Russian Air Forces, the Cosmonaut Training Centre and a number of Russian air and space enterprises, as well as of Russian federal and local bodies of power, spoke at the meeting.

Colonel General Pyotr Klimuk, head of the Cosmonaut Training Centre, said in his speech that "the sorrow and worry the crew felt about the crash of the American Columbia shuttle did not affect the fulfilment of their programme. They conducted experiments in medicine, biology and astrophysics and carried out a number of technical experiments. Their coordinated work should be an example for future expeditions." During the ceremony the crew members of the sixth long-term expedition were given a lot of valuable gifts and were awarded with NASA Space Flight medals.

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