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The Only Political Event Discussed on the Int’l Space Station

© AFP 2022 / PATRICK KOVARIKNASA astronaut Scott Kelly (R) and Roscosmos cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko of Russia pose after a press conference on December 18, 2014 at the UNESCO in Paris.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (R) and Roscosmos cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko of Russia pose after a press conference on December 18, 2014 at the UNESCO in Paris. - Sputnik International
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Crews working on board the International Space Station rarely discuss politics, but they made an exception to this time-honored tradition when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane engaged in an anti-terrorist mission in Syria in November 2015.

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Mikhail Korniyenko and Sergei Volkov, who had spent a year working on board the space outpost, described in an interview with RT how angry their American colleague, Scott Kelly, was when he learned that the pilot of the Russian Su-24, who had managed to eject from the plane, was shot and killed by militants while he was still in the air parachuting down.

“He said it was a war crime and he just couldn’t believe that someone could do a thing like that,” Mikhail Korniyenko said, adding that it was the only time they had addressed a political topic during their long stint on board the ISS.

Sergei Volkov agreed, saying that politics was the last thing on the mind of the six people working in orbit.

“There are no borders between us, we move around freely, we talk but we try to stay away from politics. The only exceptions are when something extraordinary happens. A parachuting pilot being shot at was such an exception. We all agreed that it was an absolutely wrong thing to do. We are all military pilots and we know full well what it means,” he said.

“We are like a single organism, like a fist. All six of us working at the station depend on each other. We are friends, a good team, I never tire of talking about it,” Volkov stressed.

Korniyenko and Volkov also described how they spent their spare time on board, how they talked about manned flights to Mars and other things during what they said was a fascinating and action-packed mission.

“This is the first time an ISS crew has spent a whole year working on board the station and much depended on the personal rapport between us… I think we pulled it off just fine because we tried to work as a team of colleagues and good friends,” Sergei Volkov said.

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