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Politica e lingue

MIR’S NEXT COMMANDER QUESTIONS ASTRONAUT’S RUSSIAN LANGUAGE SKILLS

MIR’S NEXT COMMANDER QUESTIONS ASTRONAUT’S RUSSIAN LANGUAGE SKILLS

SPACE CENTER, HOUSTON, TEXAS (AP) _ WITH ONLY HOURS BEFORE THEIR GOODBYES, U.S. ASTRONAUT DAVID WOLF RUSHED TO TELL HIS MIR REPLACEMENT ALL HE NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT LIVING ON THE RUSSIAN SPACE STATION.
HE MIGHT WANT TO SQUEEZE IN SOME RUSSIAN LANGUAGE LESSONS.
A COSMONAUT ABOUT TO ROCKET AWAY TO MIR SAID FROM THE RUSSIAN LAUNCH SITE IN KAZAKSTAN TODAY THAT THE STATION’S NEW AMERICAN GUEST, ANDREW THOMAS, SPEAKS RUSSIAN POORLY AND THAT COULD POSE PROBLEMS WITH THEIR WORK.
“WE UNDERSTAND IT WILL BE HARD FOR US,” SAID TALGAT MUSABAYEV, WHO WILL BECOME MIR’S NEW COMMANDER. HE NOTED THAT WOLF SPEAKS RUSSIAN MUCH BETTER THAN THOMAS.
INDEED, ALTHOUGH THOMAS SPENT A YEAR STUDYING IN RUSSIA, HE DID NOT SEEM TO UNDERSTAND QUESTIONS ASKED BY RUSSIAN REPORTERS ON TUESDAY AND ANSWERED ONLY IN ENGLISH.
THOMAS, 46, AN AUSTRALIAN-BORN ENGINEER, WAS JUST A BACKUP FOR THE MIR MISSION UNTIL HE WAS BUMPED UP TO FLIGHT STATUS LAST SUMMER AFTER ANOTHER ASTRONAUT WAS YANKED FROM THE LINEUP.
“WE HAD TO WORK WITH HIM URGENTLY AND INTENSIVELY,” MUSABAYEV SAID AT A NEWS CONFERENCE. “BUT WE HOPE EVERYTHING WILL BE NORMAL, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THOMAS’ PROFESSIONALISM AND PERSISTENCE.”
THOMAS STARTED OFF HIS 4 1/2-MONTH MIR MISSION AT ODDS WITH RUSSIAN SPACE OFFICIALS. AFTER HE REPORTED SUNDAY THAT HIS EMERGENCY SPACESUIT DIDN’T FIT, VIKTOR BLAGOV, DEPUTY CHIEF OF RUSSIA’S MISSION CONTROL, CALLED THOMAS “CAPRICIOUS” AND WONDERED ALOUD HOW THE STAY WOULD GO.
“THE SUIT PROBLEM WAS REAL,” THOMAS SAID. “I MEAN, I COULDN’T GET IT ON. I TRIED … SEVERAL TIMES TO GET IT ON, AND IT WAS JUST IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL WE MADE THE ADJUSTMENTS AND THEN IT WENT ON FINE.”
AFTER THE MINOR ALTERATIONS MONDAY, THE SUIT FITS “LIKE A GLOVE.”
THE HATCHES BETWEEN THE LINKED MIR AND ENDEAVOUR WERE TO BE CLOSED LATE THIS AFTERNOON IN PREPARATION FOR THE SHUTTLE’S DEPARTURE ON THURSDAY.
WOLF, WHO WILL BE ABOARD ENDEAVOUR FOR THE RIDE BACK TO EARTH AFTER A FOUR-MONTH MIR MISSION, HAD PLENTY OF ADVICE FOR THOMAS.
“I’VE LEARNED A LOT ABOUT HOW THESE COSMONAUTS LIKE TO LIVE, AND I’M TRYING TO PASS THAT KNOWLEDGE ON TO ANDY,” HE SAID TUESDAY, REFERRING TO HIS TWO RUSSIAN CREWMATES.
THOMAS, WHO WILL BE THE SEVENTH AND FINAL AMERICAN TO LIVE ON MIR, WILL SPEND MOST OF HIS MISSION WITH MUSABAYEV AND ANOTHER RUSSIAN, BOTH OF WHOM WILL BE LAUNCHED THURSDAY.
28 JAN 98

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