What does it take to become a cosmonaut? RT's documentary finds out

RT Documentary
This is the story of a very personal but epic journey, starting as a childhood dream and then ending with a launch into outer space. On the Day of Cosmonautics, watch the premiere of a new documentary film about how three ordinary Russians on their way to make child dream come true.

The requirements to be a cosmonaut are strict: one must have a degree in piloting, engineering or science, meet rigorous psychological criteria, and be in excellent health. Also, height, weight, hip and chest measurements are important because a cosmonaut should be able to fit into a suit, as well as a spacecraft. Here are some of the main physical requirements:

  • age under 35
  • height 150-190 cm
  • weight 50-90 kg
  • foot size up to 29.5 cm

420 cosmonaut candidates were shortlisted for the selection process, but only eight made the cut. A new film by RT Documentary focused on three candidates, and followed their grueling ordeal for almost two years. 

Candidate No 1 - Konstantin Borisov

Borisov was eager to apply to the new cosmonaut recruitment campaign, dreaming to fly to outer space since childhood. He can hold his breath for 5 minutes 13 seconds. During such training he feels as if in zero gravity.

While working as a business consultant, Konstantin realized that he had little chance to become a cosmonaut, but at the age of 30 he enrolled in the aviation institute where he studied for five years.

The camera catches him signing resignation papers at work, and all his colleagues wish him good luck, an easy take-off and a soft landing.

Candidate No 2 - Irina Zelenkova

Zelenkova is a professional athlete, cross-country skier, mountain climber (she even conquered Mt. Everest), archer and free diver.

She has a PhD in medical science and works for the Olympic Committee's innovation center.

"Studying people in unnatural conditions is my biggest passion," she says. "I would really love to carry on my studies in outer space."

She didn't think it's possible for an ordinary person to apply to be a cosmonaut. 

Candidate No 3 - Andrey Sdatchikov

While Andrey has always dreamed of being a pilot or a cosmonaut, he became an aviation engineer instead.

When the new cosmonaut recruitment campaign started, Andrey realized that he met every requirement, so he applied.

All the candidates passed a multitude of medical and physical tests, and gathered the necessary documents for the application.

"This one's out already; couldn't manage to do a single pull up," a man accepting applications says, and the candidates become even more nervous.

To achieve their goal they train intensely and across many activities and disciplines: from crossing the strait of Gibraltar to studying math and physics.

What do their partners think; what is it like to fail the selection process on the last step; how to answer 400 questions on the exam; and how to stay calm and keep moving forward…?

You can follow the candidates from the application process through the nail-biting selections day and the forest survival training, right up to the rocket launch. Whose dream will come true? Find out in the new RT documentary "To be a Cosmonaut." 

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