Living conditions were better aboard Russia's Mir orbital space station than they are on the International Space Station, said Viktor Afanasyev, captain of the Expedition Two crew, on Friday. He was speaking to reporters along with his fellow crewmen, Russian test pilot Konstantin Kozeyev and French woman cosmonaut Claudie Haignere, about his impression of work on the ISS. But he noted that the availability of a telephone on board which he could use any time to call anywhere on Earth had been "a pleasant surprise" for him. "The audibility was always perfect," he appreciated. The ISS "has good conditions to conduct scientific research in," the cosmonaut continued. He said they had carried out the mission program completely. Pressed by RIA Novosti to enlarge on what was unexpected for each crew member about the space flight, Afanasyev replied, "The craft landing was the most gentle of all the missions ever accomplished by me." Rookie flight engineer Konstantin Kozeyev said that "weightlessness itself surprised" him. Haignere recounted that "biological experiments on amphibian spawn were unexpected." "I watched life to come into existence in conditions of weightlessness, which is unusual for them. While watching it, I thought the research would be important for humans as well," she said. "In the next 10-20 years, human beings will settle in space and will live, work, and have children there," she believes. The crew felt fine after landing on Earth on Wednesday, so the rehab period was shortened from a month to just 10 days for them. The official meeting ceremony in the Star City is slated for November 9.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea