STAVROPOL, March 6. /TASS/. Renowned Russian traveler, Fyodor Konyukhov, plans to go up to the stratosphere in a hot air balloon from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. The adventurer announced the plan to reporters following his meeting with Krasnodar’s Regional Governor, Vladimir Vladimirov.
"We want to launch the balloon from the Vostochny Cosmodrome which is currently under construction, but by 2020, cosmonauts will begin their space flights from there. We want to draw the world’s attention to our new space launch site and emphasize that it is not a classified or a private facility but it is open to the world to study outer space. I secretly believe that people will travel to the Moon and Mars from the Vostochny Cosmodrome," the Russian traveler said.
According to Konyukhov, his hot air balloon will be "gigantic", with a volume of about 100,000 cubic meters. Scientists and designers from six countries including Russia have been working on the airship. "They have already started work on the balloon, in April, I will go to oversee the construction of the cabin since I will be traveling in the balloon’s gondola through rarified air, almost like a cosmonaut. The equipment will resemble hardware used in submarines, carbon dioxide will be transformed into oxygen," Russia’s world-famous explorer explained.
The wayfarer plans to ascend to the altitude of 25 kilometers above the sea level. The previous record was set by an Indian balloonist who travelled to an altitude of 21 kilometers. "We have a scientific goal as well. Scientists have developed (a technology) which enables patching up ozone holes, so I will test the pertinent tools," Konyukhov said at his meeting with Vladimirov.
As TASS reported earlier, the traveler planned to go up to the stratosphere in September 2017 from Yakutia. At present, Konyukhov conducts training flights using a glider in the Stavropol region.
The Vostochny Cosmodrome is Russia’s first civilian space launch site located in the Amur region near the future Tsiolkovsky science city. Its construction began in 2012. In April 2016, the first launch was conducted from the site, when three satellites were sent into orbit. Vostochny is expected to provide Russia with full access to outer space so as to make the country’s space research less dependent on the Kazakhstan-based Baikonur Cosmodrome.