President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev has signed a decree yesterday, October 14, awarding Aidyn Aimbetov, the third Kazakh cosmonaut, who flew to the ISS, the Khalyk Kakharmany (People’s Hero) title, Tengrinews reports.
People’s Hero award established on December 21, 1993 by a decree of President Nursultan Nazarbayev is among the country’s highest awards bestowed on the citizens of Kazakhstan for performing an extraordinary service to the country or for exemplary military or civil feat done in the name of its independence or freedom.
Aidyn Aimbetov flew to the International Space Station on Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft on September 2 along with Russian Soyuz commander Sergey Volkov and European Space Agency flight engineer Andreas Mogensen.
Aidyn Aimbetov took his place in the Kazakh history by becoming the third Kazakh cosmonaut, who was in the space, after Toktar Aubakirov in 1991 and Talgat Mussabayev in 1994, 1998 and 2001.
During the awarding ceremony, the Kazakh President Nazarbayev congratulated all the Kazakhstanis on this big achievement of Kazakhstan. “Aidyn Aimbetov has become the third cosmonaut of independent Kazakhstan. I congratulate all our people on the new achievement of our country. I sincerely thank all those people, who have made a professional contribution to this great event in our contemporary history. I would like to express my special thanks to the Russian partners and leaders as well as to foreign participants of the expedition,” he said.
Nazarbayev emphasized that space exploration had always been one of the most cherished dreams of mankind. “Today, this is the highest mission of all people on the Earth. And we, the people of Kazakhstan, are proud that the international space harbor Baikonur has been working for six decades. The whole planet sends off its astronauts from Baikonur. And then it welcomes them back after their complex missions that push further the boundaries of our knowledge about the universe. 545 astronauts from 38 countries, including Kazakhstan, have been to space over half a century of manned space flights in the near-Earth space. Aimbetov’s successful flight opened a new page of space history for our country,” the Kazakh leader declared.
Kazakhstan is now among nine countries of the world that have sent three or more of its cosmonauts to explore the outer space, Nazarbayev noted.
“This is a new start for the space future of Kazakhstan that participates in the study and exploration of the solar system together with other countries. Challenging the force of gravity has always been and will be the greatest feat of man. Only those most worthy and courageous are able to accomplish it. Our third cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov has become such a hero. Therefore, I signed a decree awarding him the title of Khalyk Kakharmany (People’s Hero), Kazakstannyn Garyshker-Ushkyshy (Cosmonaut of Kazakhstan) as well as Gold Star and the Order of Otan. These are the highest state awards that highlight his heroic feat done in the name and for the people of Kazakhstan,” Nursultan Nazarbayev said.
Nursultan Nazarbayev awarding Aidyn Aimbetov. Photo courtesy of akorda.kz
Nazarbayev said that People’s Hero Aidyn Aimbetov joined the ranks of the most distinguished cosmonauts-heroes of Kazakhstan. “Space flight of our first cosmonaut Toktar Aubakirov 24 years ago laid a foundation for Kazakhstan’s independence. We remember well how much efforts and hardships we had to overcome for that flight to happen. Our second cosmonaut Talgat Mussabayev participated in three space missions that taken together lasted for more than 341 days. He became the first Kazakh to take eight spacewalks over 42 days in total. Talgat Mussabayev exemplifies the space cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia, the eternal friendship and neighborliness between the peoples of our countries,” he said.
Nursultan Nazarbayev and three Kazakh astronauts: Talgat Mussabayev, Aidyn Aimbetov and Toktar Aubakirov. Photo courtesy of akorda.kz
Upon returning to the Earth, Aidyn Aimbetov completed the fifth space exploration program, Nazarbayev noted. It is a continuation of four previous scientific programs carried out by Toktar Aubakirov in 1991 and Talgat Mussabayev in 1994, 1998 and 2001.
The main goal of his space exploration program was to discover new fundamental data that could be used to solve socio-economic problems and to implement high technologies in various sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy.
During his 10-day space flight, Aidyn Aimbetov conducted environmental and geophysical monitoring, primarily of ecologically critical areas of Kazakhstan, such as the Aral Sea, once the fourth largest lake in the world, which is close to disappearing completely from the world’s map now, and the Caspian Sea. Aside from that, Aimbetov studied the upper atmosphere in storm active areas.
Furthermore, Aimbetov’s space research is expected to help scientists from Almaty-based Al-Farabi Kazakh National University study physical properties of charged micro particles in microgravity, a zero gravity condition, where they could get a new structure, the so-called Coulomb Crystal that cannot be produced on Earth.
Kazakhstan’s President pointed out that Aimbetov’s space flight served as the beginning of a new stage of development of innovative space industry of the country’s national economy.
Nazarbayev informed that currently an assembly and testing complex for spacecrafts was being built in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, which would be a high-tech enterprise for design, assembly and testing of satellites.
In addition, last year Kazakhstan set up a ground infrastructure system of high-precision satellite navigation and completed work on the design of a space system for scientific and technological purposes, he continued.
Kazakhstan also stepped up its efforts to train highly qualified personnel. It created a system of training, retraining and advanced training for space industry professionals, which included educating students majoring in space-related degrees in Kazakhstan’s universities and foreign educational institutions under the Bolashak education scholarship program.
Nursultan Nazarbayev added that over the past four years Kazcosmos research centers had implemented 37 research projects and received five patents.
At the end, Nazarbayev once again congratulated the national hero Aidyn Aimbetov on the highest state award saying that he successfully completed all the tasks.
Aidyn Aimbetov and Nursultan Nazarbayev. Photo courtesy of akorda.kz
Aidyn Aimbetov thanked Nazarbayev for his support that made this flight possible. “It is the most exciting and happy day in my life, because I received the highest award of the motherland from the President. I have been preparing to fly to space since 1998 as you instructed. It was the greatest honor to represent Kazakhstan as part of the international crew,” the Kazakh astronaut said.
He also reported the results of his work in space. “Kazakhstan’s space exploration program was implemented during the spaceflight. The Aral Sea and the Caspian Sea were monitored as part of the scientific program of Kazcosmos. Physical properties of micro particles in microgravity were studied. This all will be used by our scientists to conduct investigation in fusion energy, plasma medicine, nanotechnology and food industry. In the future they (studies) will be continued in Kazkosmos as well as within the frameworks of the international space cooperation,” Aidyn Aimbetov said.
He assured that he would make every effort and contribute all his knowledge and experience to develop Kazakhstan’s space industry further.
When concluding his speech, Aimbetov presented the national flag of Kazakhstan, which orbited the planet over 150 times, to Nazarbayev.
Aidyn Aimbetov and Nursultan Nazarbayev. Photo courtesy of akorda.kz