Russia: Relatives give insight into Cosmonaut Ovchinin’s lifelong journey to space — *ARCHIVE*

Tatiana and Svetlana Ovchinina, Aleksei Ovchinin’s mother and wife, gave an insight into his journey to become a cosmonaut, as well as their experiences back on Earth in an interview filmed almost a week before Ovchinin was forced to make an emergency landing following the failure of a booster on the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft. “He was a very talkative child and he always said ‘My dad works at this... Еще factory and makes engines for planes and I’m going to fly these planes.’ In 2006, he applied to become a cosmonaut,” Tatiana Ovchinina said, adding “he became a cosmonaut in 2006 and he only had his first flight in 2016.” Svetlana Ovchinina talked about her experiences and worries back on the ground. “You’re always waiting for the phone to ring because he could call at any time when he reaches the right zone and you don’t know when he’s going to call, so you’re always waiting thinking ‘he’s going to call any minute!’” she said. Talking about some of the reminders of home, Ovchinin takes into space with him, Svetlana said “he normally takes letters and birthday cards from friends and relatives, although I think he’s probably already opened them at Baikonur, pictures from our kids, photos, as many as he can take. Last time, I sewed him a large icon depicting Nikola Chudotvorets, the patron saint of travelers. This time I embroidered him a portrait of Gagarin.” Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague landed safely, having returned to Earth in ballistic descent mode. They were originally scheduled to return in April 2019.

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