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Blast off! Siberian woman named as test cosmonaut after tough selection process

By Anna Liesowska & Derek Lambie
24 December 2014

Engineer Anna beat off competition from 300 others and could now become Russia’s fifth woman in space.

Last year she was working with the Siberia-Altai radio station but now she is dreaming of blasting off into orbit on her first mission. Picture: Yu.A. Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center

A Siberian engineer has joined an exclusive list by being named a test cosmonaut, with hopes she can become the fifth Russian woman to go into space. Anna Kikina, 30, beat off competition from more than 300 other people after a tough selection process that lasted more than two years.

Her training to make the grade included not just passing a series of exams but learning survival skills in the desert and working with parachutes. Last year she was working with the Siberia-Altai radio station but now she is dreaming of blasting off into orbit on her first mission.

If she makes it into space Anna, from Novosibirsk, will become just the fifth Russian woman to do so, following in the famous footsteps of Valentina Tereshkova, Svetlana Savitskaya, Yelena Kondakova, and Elena Serova.

Yuri Lonchakov, the head of the Cosmonaut Training Centre, recently said that he hoped the latest recruit would be able to go into orbit in the next few years.

He added: 'Instructors that worked with Anna really appreciated her level of training, so I think she will be a good cosmonaut.'

Anna first considered becoming a test cosmonaut in February 2012 when she learned about the selection process, and immediately began gathering the relevant documentation.

Anna Kikina

Anna kikina holds the cosmonaut certificate. Picture: Press service of the Federal Space Agency

She became a candidate for a position on October 29, 2012, along with 303 other people, including 42 other women. Just eight people made the final selection, following a tough vetting process in which candidate had to pass a large number of tests.

In addition to being able to speak and read English, they had to show basic knowledge of a manned spaceflight, and be briefed in world cultural studies. Doctors also had to give each individual a thorough medical.

Anna – the only female on the shortlist - faced a slight problem in June, and there was discussion about her being excluded from the cosmonaut team after she failed to pass all of the exams at that time.

However, following talks she was left in the team and she has now passed all the necessary programmes and examinations and has her cosmonaut certificate.

Her appointment as a test cosmonaut was announced on December 17 at a meeting of the Interdepartmental Qualification Commission at the Cosmonaut Training Centre. She will now continue with more specialised training before being considered for a future mission.

Anna Kikina

'Instructors that worked with Anna really appreciated her level of training.' Picture: Press service of the Federal Space Agency

Anna is a graduate from the Novosibirsk State Academy of Water Transport, and has qualifications in engineering and also economics. She is a skilled rafter and polyathlon competitor.

Russian’s fourth woman in space, Elena Serova, from the Far East, is currently working on board the International Space Station. She was one of five cosmonauts selected to raise the Russian flag at the 2014 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Sochi.

Read more about first woman cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova

Comments (4)

The best for you Ana I admire the russian cosmonauts!!!!
Mario Pino, Chile
12/03/2023 05:18
Bravo Anna , Felicidades
Andres Seneca, Canada
27/12/2014 07:11
Anna ,hoping all your dreams come true ,I know you'll succeed ,Wow to see the planet earth from outer space. Please don't forget the camera and take a few good pics even if it's just to remind us how beautiful is OUR planet, PS send some pics to The Siberian Times they will be grateful ------- and that means us too , Stay safe ,

Patrick ,
24/12/2014 22:07
.................Go girls to promote SCIENCES .!............. Congratulations
Jocelyne, FRANCE
24/12/2014 12:43

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