Kikina’s Flight Should Inspire All Women to Work to Make Dreams Come True - Space Expert

© Sputnik / Kirill Kallinikov / Go to the mediabankAnastasia Stepanova
Anastasia Stepanova - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.10.2022
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (Sputnik) - The space flight of Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina is significant in many ways and should inspire women around the globe to strive toward achieving their dreams, Anastasia Stepanova, a participant of two international space simulation experiments told Sputnik.
Kikina, the only female cosmonaut at Roscosmos, is currently flying with the Crew-5 team to the ISS aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft named Endurance. The spacecraft docked at the International Space Station on Thursday. Kikina is the first Russian to be launched into space from US soil in two decades.
"I believe that this should inspire women not only in Russia, but also women of the entire planet, that they need to dare and they need to continue working towards their dream, no matter how difficult and impossible it may seem," Stepanova, a friend of Kikina’s who was invited to watch the launch, added.
Stepanova said the flight is significant in many respects.
"First, she is the only female cosmonaut in the Russian squadron. Women have not flown from Russia for several years. Besides, she is the first Russian woman on an international crew and, in general, the first person from Russia, from Roscosmos, who flies on the Space X vehicle. There are a lot of positive unique moments that came together in this flight," Stepanova said.
The 11-person crew aboard the station comprises of (clockwise from bottom right) Expedition 67 Commander Tom Marshburn with Flight Engineers Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, Sergey Korsakov, Raja Chari, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer; and Axiom Mission 1 astronauts (center row from left) Mark Pathy, Eytan Stibbe, Larry Conner, and Michael Lopez-Alegria - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.10.2022
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Stepanova said she feels lucky to be an invited guest as a friend of Kikina at the launch.
"It was probably the best news of the last year. It was said in the official email from NASA that we need to arrive three days before launch, because there will be various activities besides, of course, the most important event - the launch. I was very impressed already on the first day when the crew came to meet us. They stood at a distance of several meters due to the quarantine. Already then I shed a tear - to see Anna, to see this happiness and be proud of her," Stepanova said.
In general, she said it is quite difficult for women in astronautics in Russia.
"This is a difficult path with many obstacles, and Anna simply proved once again to all of us that everything can be overcome, everything is possible," Stepanova added. "And 10 years of her tireless work has paid off now."
Stepanova shared that she saw Kikina’s clear blue eyes full of joy, enthusiasm and impatience to quickly go to her first flight.
Models in the Roscosmos pavilion at the exhibition held as part of the International Military-Technical Forum ARMY-2022 at the Patriot Congress and Exhibition Center. - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.10.2022
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Stepanova also had a chance to tell Kikina that many people, including all her subscribers and acquaintances, say hello to her, root for her, wish her a wonderful flight and being on the ISS, and that she inspires us all.

"In response, she told me that she was grateful for such support and she felt it. Although she does not see all the people, she feels them" Stepanova revealed. "I look forward to when they dock to the ISS and Anna will start what she has been studying for all these years, she will start working on the ISS, and we will enjoy her video reports and wait for her back here on earth."

Stepanova, PhD candidate in space resources, has been a crew member of SIRIUS-19 and Mars 160 - international projects simulating space missions to the Moon and Mars
NASA's Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, as well as Japan's Koichi Wakata, and Russia's Kikina will stay in orbit for about six months and carry out over 200 scientific experiments.
In July, Roscosmos and NASA signed an agreement on integrated flights of cosmonauts and astronauts to the ISS. As part of the agreement, the Soyuz-2.1a rocket with a Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft was launched from Baikonur to the ISS on September 21 carrying another crew including Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin as well as NASA astronaut Francisco Rubio.
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