by Staff Writers
Moscow (UPI) Aug 28, 2012
Russia says it is making changes in the way it conducts its effort to recruit cosmonauts, with one official saying the current procedure is "impractical."
After the first open cosmonaut selection drive in the history of the Russian space industry was held between Jan. 27 and March 15, the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center announced it would change the terms of future such drives, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.
"This was the first precedent for an open selection. It was a first step, and further recruitment drives will be improved," the center's deputy chief Igor Sokhin said.
"Reality showed that the time frame of the selection drive -- several months -- is impractical," he said, noting a typical NASA astronaut recruitment drive lasts 18 months.
Cosmonaut applicants can be no older than 33, must have a college degree and have at least five years of work experience, and must meet specific physical requirements such as height.
While people with a non-technical humanities background can apply, Sokhin said, it was harder for such people to qualify for cosmonaut training.
"We have no spacecraft with high passenger capacity to let a specialist in one domain fly into space. A person who flies has to acquire great amounts of knowledge and information, just like other crew members," he said. "It's probably harder for a person with a background in humanities to do that."
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