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Astana, Kazakhstan • 12 April, 2022 | 16:20

‘I Did It For My People’: Tokhtar Aubakirov About His Flight to Space

International Day of Human Space Flight with the first Kazakh cosmonaut

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Qazaqstan Monitor: ‘I Did It For My People’: Tokhtar Aubakirov About His Flight to Space

On April 7, 2011, the UN General Assembly made April 12 as International Day of Human Space Flight to commemorate the beginning of space exploration. In Kazakhstan's history, this date holds special meaning - as a place where it all started.

First Kazakh in Space

April 2, 1961, marked a historic moment that turned Baikonur into the main harbor for Soviet, then Russian and international spacecraft to take off to space. It was on Kazakh soil that Vostok-1 carrying the first human in history to go to space, Yuri Gagarin, was launched. 

Thirty years later, on October 2, 1991, Tokhtar Aubakirov became the first Kazakh and last Soviet cosmonaut to go to space. He was in space from October 2 to 10, 1991 as a cosmonaut-researcher on the Soyuz TM-13 spacecraft, along with crew commander Alexander Volkov and Austrian astronaut Franz Fibeck.

The duration of the space flight was 7 days 22 hours and 13 minutes.

Leaders of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Armenia came to see Aubakirov off on his journey. He was considered a national hero.

In his latest interview, Tokhtar Aubakirov shared that he dedicated his flight to the people of Kazakhstan.

Celebrating history 

To celebrate 'Cosmonautics Day', the "Earth, bow to man!" exhibition organized an educational event where students from No. 72 College of Service and Tourism and other institutions were able to participate in an online meeting with Aubakirov himself at the museum in the library of the First President of Kazakhstan.

Opening the event, the Director of the library, Bakytzhan Temirbolat, made an emphasis on the fact that Aubakirov's flight to space opened a new page in Kazakhstan's journey to independence. 

Aubakirov congratulated everyone on the anniversary and expressed hope that mankind will still reach other planets and that today's youth will not only be able to witness these events but also participate in them.

"Sixty years have passed since the beginning of space exploration. For human life, this is not enough and for mankind, it is only the initial step in the exploration of outer space."

Aubakirov while answering children's questions noted that to become an astronaut today you need a desire for scientific knowledge. Before, in order to go to space, a lot of attention was paid to physical health. Since childhood, he dreamed of becoming a pilot. He said Gagarin's flight had no influence on his decision.

"When I met with Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1989, where he suggested that I should go to space, I said that I could not do it at the moment. We met again in 1991. He said it was necessary not for him, not for me, but for the sake of the people. I gave my consent and began preparing for my space flight. I dedicated the flight to my people."

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