Taking part in the session were ISS Commander, instructor and research cosmonaut 2nd Rank Oleg Skripochka of Russia; ISS flight engineer, research cosmonaut 1st Rank Ivan Vagner of Russia; ISS flight engineer, instructor and research cosmonaut 1st Rank Anatoly Ivanishin of Russia; flight engineer (to become ISS commander on April 17, 2020) NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy of the USA; flight engineers NASA astronaut Jessica Meir of the USA and astronaut Andrew Morgan of the USA.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Greetings, my friends.
ISS Commander Oleg Skripochka: Good afternoon.
Vladimir Putin: I am very happy to greet two ISS crews at once. I wish those of you who are just starting your orbital mission to fulfil all the tasks, and to those who are wrapping up their mission to happily return back home to Earth.
Space exploration has always been and remains a token of progress and development for humankind, while activities in space open up more new prospects in the economy, science and social sphere with every coming year.
The orbit, including aboard your station, is a site for fundamental research in biology, medicine, physics and chemistry, a site where crucial practical problems are being resolved.
Russia has rich experience in international cooperation in space. We are happy that our specialists are successfully collaborating with their colleagues from the United States, one of the world’s leading space powers. It is a vivid example of an effective partnership between our countries for the benefit of the entire humanity.
We are now also trying to organise work on current problems. I do not like speaking about this but I have to. I mean the fight against the pandemic, as well as the situation in the global markets. The President of the United States and I discussed these issues just yesterday, and we will speak more on that topic. So, fortunately, cooperation is developing, and not only in space but also in other areas.
I would also note that the Cosmonaut Training Centre marked its 60th anniversary this year. A whole constellation of space explorers from over 25 countries was raised there.
And today, largely thanks to the Centre’s performance, the geography of nations sending their researchers into orbit keeps expanding. For example, a pilot from the United Arab Emirates was on board of the ISS last year.
Our country has always been a forerunner in exploring the universe. We will be doing everything to also pay attention to one of its crucial areas – manned space flights.
We will definitely continue pursuing our strategic plans on space exploration; we will be developing all our programmes.
By the way, today, ahead of Cosmonautics Day, we will discuss progress with the leaders of the industry, to adjust our plans, advance them, and do everything possible for them to materialise, including the construction of the new cosmodrome of Vostochny.
Friends, I would like to congratulate you, as well as all current and former workers of the Russian space industry, on the upcoming holiday.
I would like to remind you that the birth and maturing of the space sector in our country happened in the difficult post-war years. However, in spite of all the trials, people were dedicated to bringing the dream of flying into the universe to reality. They advanced courageously forward into the unknown and achieved success.
I am confident that today, when the world is facing tough challenges, space exploration and cooperation with our foreign partners will be actively advanced. Because humankind cannot stay where it is, it will always be trying to move forward, to join efforts to push back the limits of our knowledge.
Let me now address the Russian part of your crew, and convey my best wishes once again on the forthcoming holiday, Cosmonautics Day.
Best of luck to you.
Oleg Skripochka: Thank you very much for your warm words.
We are also happy to greet everyone ahead of Cosmonautics Day. We are glad to send greetings on this wonderful event, and to wish further success and progress to both the space industry and other sectors.
Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you. All the very best. I wish you every success.