Vice President of Russia’s Space Corporation Energia, Vladimir Solovyov, said that Gennady Padalka, the ISS commander, who recently returned from space to Earth was the “president of the international space state,” Interfax reports.
“Six people on board is quite complicated, and I would like to emphasize that the first commander of these six people in the orbit was a Russian cosmonaut. He is the president of the international space state, if we use the political language. This is very important, it will become a part of history of space flights,” Solovyov said at his meeting with the cosmonauts who returned home to Earth from the ISS October 11.
Solovyov thanked the cosmonauts for their professionalism during the long space mission, which lasted for 198 days.
“Being the flight supervisor, I was very concerned about the crew of six. Two or three cosmonauts can be disciplined, but six people is almost a crowd in space. I am very grateful to the commander of the crew for maintaining discipline and friendly relations on board,” Solovyov said.
Joel Montalbano, the director of NASA’s programs in Russia said that the recent return of the space mission from the ISS marked a new page in the history of space exploration.
Christian Feichtinger, head of the ESA Moscow office, said that the six-member crew proved that people of different nationalities can cooperate and be friends in space.
ESA astronaut Frank de Winne will hold the title of the ISS commander after Padalka’s return.