Russian cosmonaut Viktor Savinykh, 71, who has flown in three space flights, would like to see a monument of the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, in the city.
“Yuri Gagarin was a great man. Moreover, he also visited Mumbai. If that (monument) happens, I would come for its inauguration and I am willing to help in every possible way,” said Savinykh on Thursday at the Nehru Centre, Worli. Savinykh was in the city to deliver a special space science lecture on the 50th anniversary of the first human space flight.
Last month, the Russian consulate had written to the state government requesting that the new Lalbaug flyover be named after Gagarin. “If not a monument, at least name the flyover after him. In Russia, there are so many roads and places named in honour of great Indian figures,” added Savinykh.
Savinykh, who has been decorated twice as the Hero of the Soviet Union, spoke about how governments across the world must come together to launch space exploration programmes.
“Our space odyssey is gone so far that we can now go to Mars. We need a team to make equipment and technology. Every thing cannot be done by one country alone,” he said.
Addressing students, parents and senior citizens, Savinykh said the space flights made him knowledgeable about pollution on the Earth. “From outer space, the Earth is not just beautiful but also has polluted spots. It makes a pilot understand that one needs to do more to control pollution and protect the environment,” he added.
From speaking on effects of low gravity on the body to the training programmes he underwent, Savinykh also spoke of how cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma’s space flight gave a fillip to India’s space science programme.
“But what’s good about space is that you get out of a sleeping bag and you are at work. Seventy five days is a relaxing regime,” he said.
On being asked about radiation exposure in space, Savinykh said, “I received less radiation in space as compared to my training while undergoing X-rays for various tests.”