MOSCOW, August 2. /TASS/. Two factors explain why Russian women seldom fly to space - national mentality and subjective low self-esteem, the chief of a section at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Biomedical Problems, Mark Belakovsky, told TASS on Thursday.
Earlier it was announced that more than ten aspirants had gone through the full cycle of selection for the team of Russian cosmonauts but there were no women among them.
"There are no obstacles to women’s space missions from the physiological point of view. I believe there are two hindrances that can explain why there are no Russian women among the crewmembers of the International Space Station: national mentality and subjective low self-esteem," Belakovsky said.
The IBMP has invariably supported the idea of women’s participation in space missions.
"In 1980 the chief medical commission selected four women medics - Galina Amelkina, Yelena Dobrokvashina, Tamara Zakharova and Larisa Pozharskaya, who worked at IBMP’s research laboratories. All were awarded the cosmonaut-researcher status. Their training lasted up to 1993. The sole reason why none of them participated in space flights was the flights’ program was changed," Belakovsky said.
Also, he mentioned as an example the Luna-2015 experiment imitating a flight to the Moon, in which a crew of six women spent eight days in a sealed room.
"We formed this crew on purpose to draw attention to the importance of women’s space flights. The participants in the experiment did a good job. Later on some of them took part in the experiment SIRIUS-17 [Scientific International Research in Unique Terrestrial Station]. Others now provide assistance in conducting a four-month isolation experiment," Belakovsky said.
He also mentioned Anna Kikina, a member of the cosmonauts training team, who earlier successfully participated in the experiment SIRIUS-17.
On recruitment of women into cosmonaut training team
The 17th recruitment into the cosmonaut team in March 2017 was open. Applications were accepted from Russian citizens under 35 years of age having higher education and engineering, research or flight specialties.
Women filed more applications than before.
In the previous recruitment in 2012 (the first open one) eight aspirants were selected from a group of 304 volunteers. Six of them are in the cosmonaut team now. Anna Kikina was among the contenders. She is the only woman in the cosmonaut team at the moment. Kikina has participated in no space missions so far.
In the history of Soviet and Russian space research only four women have been to space - Valentina Tereshkova, Svetlana Savitskaya, Yelena Kondakova and Yelena Serova.