Greek-Russian cosmonaut, Fyodor Yurchikhin-Grammatikopoulos (foto), heads for space for a third journey on June 16th according to an announcement in the Roskosmos website.
Yurchikhin was designated as head of the delegation that will also be participated by NASA astronauts Shannon Walker and Douglas Wheelock both from the US.
Speaking to the Athens News Agency, Yurchikhin spoke proudly of his Greek heritage and expressed the hope that one day, Greece could take part in space programs as a country.
Yurchikhin was born in Batumi, Georgian SSR (now Adjara the autonomous republic of Georgia) on 3 January 1959 to Pontic Greek parents Nikolai Fyodorovich Yurchikhin and Mikrula Sofoklevna Yurchikhina (both now reside in Sindos, Thessaloniki, Greece). Yurchikhin is married to Larisa Anatolievna Yurchikhina (born in Shchyolkovo) and has two daughters. His hobbies include collecting stamps and space logos, sports, history of cosmonautics, and promotion of space. He also enjoys reading history, science fiction and the classics.
After graduation from high school in Batumi in 1976, he entered the Moscow Aviation Institute named after Sergey Ordzhonikidze. He finished studying in 1983, and is qualified as a mechanical engineer, specializing in airspace vehicles. In 2001, he graduated from the Moscow Service State University with a Ph.D. in economics.
After graduating from the S. Ordzhonikidze Moscow Aviation Institute, Yurchikhin worked at the Russian Space Corporation Energia from September 1983 until August 1997. He began working as a controller in the Russian Mission Control Center, and held the positions of engineer, senior engineer, and lead engineer, eventually becoming a lead engineer for Shuttle-Mir and NASA-Mir Programs.
In August 1997, he was enrolled in the RSC Energia cosmonaut detachment as a cosmonaut-candidate. From January 1998 to November 1999, he completed his basic training course. In November 1999, he was qualified as a test cosmonaut. In January 2000, he started training in the test-cosmonaut group for the ISS program. In October 2002, Fyodor Yurchikhin flew aboard STS-112. In completing his first space flight he has logged a total of 10 days, 19 hours, and 58 minutes in space.
In 2007, he became a member of the Expedition 15 on the ISS. His flight began on April 7, when he launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, aboard Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft, together with Oleg Kotov and space tourist Charles Simonyi. Yurchikhin was aboard when Simonyi gave a live telebridge conversation on Tuesday, April 17, 2007. At 19:05 GMT on 30 May 2007 Yurchikhin and Kotov began a 5 hour and 25 minute spacewalk, during which they installed protective panels to shield ISS from space debris. This spacewalk, which lasted 5 hours and 25 minutes, was his first.
(source: voice of greece)
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