We encountered no communication problems in orbit," Yuri Gidzenko, the leader of a short-term expedition to the International Space Station /ISS/, was quoted as saying at the Tuesday press conference in Star City near Moscow. "Eight months of pre-flight ground training when we were also communicating with each other in our free time, put us together," the Russian cosmonaut continued. "We knew what to expect from each other, got used to being together. So during our 10-day space mission there was not a single occasion when we would need the help of psychologists from the Earth." According to Gidzenko, he "had to look after 'space rookies'" - Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori, the flight engineer, and space tourist number two Mark Shuttleworth, a South African businessman, to tell them how to prepare and conduct scientific experiments and to stand zero gravity. "That was the third time I took part in a space mission. But, even this time I could not get enough of the beauty of our home planet and stars," crew leader stated. The cosmonaut stressed that the main crew helped them a lot during the mission. He stated that the expedition had conducted all planned experiments and completed the mission programme. He positively assessed the participation of unprofessional cosmonauts in space missions. "If a man has a dream and money, why shouldn't he try and make it come true?" he said.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.