MOSCOW, November 17. /TASS/. The TASS Russian News Agency will be the first of all global mass media outlets to open a permanent bureau on the International Space Station. A memorandum of cooperation by TASS and the Russian space corporation Roscosmos for a joint project was signed by TASS Director General Sergei Mikhailov and Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin on November 17.
The first TASS correspondent onboard the orbital outpost will be Hero of Russia, cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin. His task will be to report on the space station’s daily routine. His reports will be available to the agency’s readership from TASS news resources and his photo and video contributions will be uploaded to the agency’s website and official pages on social media.
Mikhailov said TASS always seeks to be wherever breaking news happens.
"Previously, we were limited to our planet. TASS is present in all regions of Russia and in more than 60 countries. In the coming years their numbers will increase. We’ve eyed the idea that outer space may be the target of our news expansion, and I am very glad that cooperation with the Roscosmos Corporation has taken shape very quickly and harmoniously," he said. "We consider it to be an incredible honor to regard Russian cosmonauts as our colleagues. We will be looking forward to news and amazing snapshots from orbit."
For his part, Rogozin said that the opening of a TASS bureau on the ISS would make it possible to brief a far wider audience on what is new in Russia's space industry. "A special enlightenment and educational project by Roscosmos and TASS is expected to popularize Russia’s activity in space. The agency’s readership will have a chance to learn far more facts and details about the cosmonauts’ work in space, the research experiments they conduct, and the distinguishing features of a space flight. Roscosmos cosmonauts - the direct participants in the process - will be sharing their first-hand experience," Rogozin explained.
He stressed that doing two jobs, that of a cosmonaut and a correspondent simultaneously, would not result in a conflict of interest, although all crewmembers working in orbit had access to sensitive information.
"The cosmonauts are highly professional and know very well where to stop. I believe, there will be no conflict of interest," Rogozin assured.
He remarked with a tone of regret he was not the one who obtained a TASS correspondent’s ID.
"Naturally, it makes me feel somewhat bitter that the ID went to Misurkin, and not to me," he noted.
"We are ready to have you on our staff working part-time as of today," Mikhailov replied.
Deputy Chief of the Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center, commander of the group of cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko said Misurkin was very enthusiastic about becoming the first TASS correspondent in space.
"Alexander was very positive about this idea. He will do his utmost to ensure that his reports are candid, impartial, and interesting to read," Kononenko said.
Misurkin will go on a space mission onboard the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft on December 8 together with Japanese billionaire Yusako Maezawa and his assistant Yozo Hirano. Before departing for Baikonur, Misurkin will be handed a special TASS correspondent’s ID.
Currently, a staff of nearly 2,000 keeps TASS going round the clock. Regional news centers in St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg and dozens of bureaus in Russia’s regions, as well as 63 bureaus in 60 countries promptly gather and publish impartial information about events in Russia and around the world, making it available to a vast audience. In 16 countries and now orbiting the Earth, TASS correspondents are the sole representatives of Russia’s mass media. The agency publishes about 2,000 news items and about 600-800 images and videos from its own correspondents in Russia and abroad every day, thus shaping an integral and impartial picture of world events.