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The Hungarian astronaut candidates

The Hungarian astronaut candidates have been participating in an isolation program, and the next training location is the United States, Ministerial Commissioner Orsolya Ferencz told Index when asked about the Hungarian to Orbit (HUNOR) program.

The training of Hungarian astronauts is progressing well, the Ministerial Commissioner for Space Research explained. The candidates are in the third phase of the three-stage training series, the last part of which was the recently concluded isolation program.

The isolation program lasted for six days and prepared the candidates in special conditions to face specific challenges in confined spaces while performing different tasks.

The candidates did not know anything in advance, neither the tasks, nor the location, or even the planned length of the isolation. The program was carried out in cooperation with the Counter Terrorism Centre (TEK) and experts from Semmelweis University. In a 48-square-meter container facility, they tried to create conditions similar to the International Space Station, with confined spaces, a soundproof room, few resources, a work schedule and routine that included cleaning, eating, and training to specific specifications, while modelling scientific experiments, summarized the Commissioner for Space, adding that the candidates went through a meticulous series of scientific and practical tasks and performed with excellence.

The isolation program included experiments in materials science, radio engineering, electrical engineering, 3D printing, and medicine. Emergency simulations were also carried out in which decisions had to be made in a split second. A TEK training officer coordinated the team as commander, while the mental state of the candidates, their reactions to stressful situations, and sleep deprivation were constantly monitored from outside.

Orsolya Ferencz emphasized that

the next part of the program will be the U.S. missions, in cooperation with the Houston center, including centrifuge and acceleration tests.

The candidates left for Houston on Saturday.

The Commissioner also pointed out that the selection of two out of the four astronauts could happen at any moment. There was a stage in the program when it seemed that a decision would have to be made, but they are trying to keep all four candidates on board as long as possible to ensure that they can participate in as many tasks as possible, thus broadening their experience.

“It will be a heartbreaking moment to decide because all four candidates are excellent. We would like to keep the candidates who cannot go to the space station in the program; we rely on them for ground control and tasks, and in addition, Hungarian space activities need people with such knowledge in many areas, including in the programs of various research institutes.

The final choice of who will be able to carry out research work on the International Space Station will be made at the very end of the program,”

Ferencz underlined.

In the long term, they also want to ensure that this is not a special opportunity that happens once every 40-50 years. Their aim is for international partners to consider Hungarian candidates when looking for astronauts.

Regarding the expected launch date, Orsolya Ferencz said: “The date is still the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025, but it is not possible to be more precise than that, it depends on international partners and the space station’s schedule. Furthernore, in this sector, a delay of a few weeks or months is considered normal.”

Agreement Signed with ESA on Cooperation in Space Research Program
Agreement Signed with ESA on Cooperation in Space Research Program

The Hungarian to Orbit (HUNOR) program has reached another milestone.Continue reading

Via Index; Featured image via Facebook/HUNOR – Magyar Űrhajós Program

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