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Moscow (XNA) Aug 07, 2012
The Russian cosmonaut squad is going to accept seven more members, the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center said Thursday. The seven candidates, all male, successfully passed state exams on July 31. They have been undergoing training since April 2010. The center also informed that there will be no cosmonauts on active military service in the country's space team.
"Up to date, twelve cosmonauts have been transferred to the reserve. In August, five more people will be relieved from their military duties. After that, there will be no more people in military ranks but only civilians," the center said.
The government in February removed the Cosmonauts Training Center from the list of organizations where the military service is supposed to engage. A number of cosmonauts protested since the policy affects their social guarantees like salaries.
Roscosmos then announced that only civilian candidates could apply for the cosmonaut positions.
Meanwhile, all cosmonauts were offered to either retire from the Armed Forces or to quit the cosmonaut team. The decision has affected in total about 200 people, including both cosmonauts and workers.
According to Roscosmos' deputy head Vitaly Davydov, it takes about six years of training before a candidate could finally flight to the space. Currently, Russian active cosmonaut team consists of 31 pilots.
Source: Xinhua News Agency
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