12. 02. 2019 14:00
Fifteen European astronauts will meet in Bratislava next week at an international event to mark the 20th anniversary of the first flight into space by a Slovak, Ivan Bella. Then 34-year-old Bella took off into space on February 20, 1999 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on board the Soyuz TM-29 spacecraft for the Stefanik Space Mission along with Russian cosmonaut Viktor Mihailovic Afanasiev and French astronaut Jean-Pierre Haignere. Two days later they docked with the Mir orbital space station 350 km above the Earth, where Bella carried out scientific research in six areas. "Many astronauts and cosmonauts that I met at that time haven't been to Slovakia, and there has been no chance to thank them for actively participating in the successful mission 20 years ago," said Bella.