летчик-космонавт Александр Мисуркин
Hero of Russian Federation
Motivational Speaker
Motivational Speaker
Alexander Misurkin
In 2013, became the youngest person on board the ISS
Pilot-cosmonaut, Hero of Russian Federation
In 2013, became the youngest person
on board the ISS


«People are not born cosmonauts – this is who they become. And many can do it.
Why do we need to fly to space? Exploring the world around us, we get to know ourselves better»

I was born and spent the first years of life in Smolensk, the homeland of the first cosmonaut of our planet. Later I moved to Oryol, where my childhood fantasies of flying to other worlds, the desire to visit places where no one had gone before us, evolved into the goal of becoming a spaceman.

This is where I took my first steps toward my goal. I had started flying a glider on my own long before I learned to drive a car.

After school, I entered the Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots in Kachinsk. My study was continued at the Armavir Military Aviation Institute. For the next seven years, my main goal was to improve my professional skills. All I lived and strived for at the time was to become a 1st class flight instructor. Having achieved this goal, I felt I was ready for the next step.

By qualifying for the Cosmonaut Squad, I really took my life to the next level. My whole life consisted of endless lectures, exams, and this alternated with parachute jumps, diving, airplane rides, survival training. Extensive geography of business trips, the widest circle of communication, and most importantly — all this was in a special atmosphere, among special, open, responsive, kind and brave people. And we were all one — a team, which for me has always been and remains one of the most important values. It really was a New World. I was happy, happy to live in it, happy to realize that all this gives me the opportunity to develop and move forward.

Step by step, I was approaching my goal and at the same time the most important exam in my life. Who would have thought that the plan «How to Be a Cosmonaut», invented one fine spring day more than 20 years ago by my schoolteacher Nataliya Vladimirovna Afanasieva, would work!

On March 29, 2013, at the age of 35, I undertook my 35th expedition to the ISS, thus achieving the goal that I had set for myself 23 years ago. By becoming the 116th cosmonaut of Russia, I also became the youngest cosmonaut/astronaut to have been to the ISS.

Later, within 8 years, I was in space twice more: as an expedition commander on the ISS expedition and as the crew commander of the first fully commercial flight in Russian astronautics. Twice I set the record for the longest time in outer space in Russian spacesuits. And, just as importantly, I met a wide range of smart people from all kinds of spheres, from science to business and the arts.

In addition to unforgettable impressions, this experience gave me the opportunity to understand that people often explain by luck what is actually the result of systematic work. Russian singer Garik Sukachev is 300% right «This phrase is worthless „You’re lucky“». It was a revelation to me that being friends and being a team are two completely different things, but I realized what it needs to be a team, I realized the price and the role of such qualities as trust and responsibility. By will of fate, I saw the analogy of a flight into space with the latest realities of remote work on Earth, understood what helps me stay effective in conditions of high uncertainty, thought about how to manage stress and prevent internal burnout.

The goal-calling of the first part of life has been achieved, and new goals appear on my life horizon...

And yet, the view of our planet from space is a most precious and unforgettable feeling, prompting speculation about our place in the universe and whether and when we will encounter other worlds similar to ours and when will it happen.

My topics

Effective strategy in the context of uncertainty. View from the orbit
Preparation for a space flight takes a long time, and the flights themselves are carefully planned. And although the manned space program is more than 60 years old, there is still space for non-standard and emergency situations in space, and the phrase of the pilot-cosmonaut of the USSR Vladimir Lyakhov: «It won’t be like this!» has become winged.

Looking back at my way to cosmonautics, I can confidently say that it was a path through an unknown field. The question «How to become an astronaut?» is often heard today, but to whom it could be addressed in the 90s?

It’s all about space, but what’s on Earth? Life on Earth today cannot be called stable and regular. We live in conditions of constant changes, or rather, in conditions of accelerating changes, which is primarily due to the exponential growth of technologies and their mutual influence on each other. How to remain reliable, efficient and effective in these conditions?

Alexander Misurkin will talk about space approaches to solving these problems.

Leader and the Team. Becoming a space crew
Today it is not uncommon to meet a request for building a team where previously the concept of «workforce» was used. Why? Obviously, because the team has greater resilience and efficiency.

At the same time, just as there are many shades of gray between black and white, so the distance from none to the ideal team has many intermediate states. In cosmonautics, a team is a crew. The experience of 15 years of training in the cosmonaut team and 3 space flights allows me to conclude that the degree of readiness of the crew for flight from the point of view of teamwork is determined by the degree of manifestation / coincidence of the following factors in the crew:
— engagement;
— the coincidence of cultural and value bases (or their correspondence to the crew’s platform positioned as a value platform);
— the level of development of skills that affect the effectiveness of joint activities.

These criteria determine both the activities of a small team working shoulder to shoulder, and an extended crew, some of which are on the ISS, and some on Earth. What determines the cultural and value platform of the space crew, how to form it, what skills are important in the work of the space crew and why? You find the answer to these questions by analyzing both regular work and emergency situations during preparation and in flight.

The leader is the one with whom any team begins, he determines the meaning and purpose of the activity. First of all, it depends on him whether these people will become a real crew, how reliable and effective they will be. Who is the real space leader for me and thanks to what they managed to reach truly cosmic heights? What important qualities of a leader I have identified, having come a long way of the commander of the Soyuz crew and the commander of the ISS expedition? I will be glad to share.

Burning but not burning out. Stress and burnout in space
The ability to manage stress largely determines how long you will be burning with what you are doing and how much energy you will spend on achieving goals.

In preparation for spaceflight you often face acute stress, such as when you lose 5 kilograms of your own weight in 2 days of survival training or when you spend a week alone in an isolation chamber including 66 hours of non-stop activity, and of course in the special parachute training of astronauts.

In flight there is also acute stress, but predominant is chronic one, because from the moment you enter the rocket to the landing you live and work according to a cyclogram, where you personally determine nothing: neither the scope of your tasks, nor your social circle, nor your environment in general — and this is already stress. We are all different and the specific cause of chronic stress can be different for everyone: communication with colleagues, lack of opportunity to go for a walk, repetitive food...

However, stress is far from being the only cause of burnout. And the conditions of an extreme environment erase the semitones, make the picture more contrasting, which, combined with a high level of awareness, allows us to identify both ways of qualitative stress management and other causes of burnout, as well as to understand what allows us to be in a state of inspiration.

Risk Management in Outer Space
Four times I had a chance to go into outer space, twice we set a record for the duration of work in outer space in Russian spacesuits.

This is my favorite, the hardest and probably the most dangerous job in my life. Every spacewalk is a new challenge demanding maximum concentration. Despite careful preparation, every time there were issues that you had not expected and which you had to cope with here and now, counting on yourself, your partner and the support of a specialist in the MCC.

Analyzing this experience, you understand that following the next principles helps to control the situation while implementing risk-related projects:
— careful planning and preparation;
— fatal risk prevention system;
— high-quality communication in the process of work;
— teamwork.

Alexander Misurkin will talk about based on his experience and the experience of his colleges.

Space ambitions: We are all capable of more!
Getting acquainted with various space technology, sometimes I was absolutely delighted with the courage and originality of engineering.

For example, to assess the health status of cosmonauts, it is important to be able to monitor body weight in flight. But how to weigh in zero gravity? After all, it is weightless because everything in it does not have weight. And before returning to Earth, doctors need a prognosis of the crew’s well-being after landing. Will the veins of the lower extremities be able to pump blood again in the conditions of gravity, or does the cosmonaut risk losing consciousness at the first attempt to stand on their feet? Well, brave engineers had solved the problem of simulating natural gravity, hundreds or even thousands of years before the issue of direct control of gravitational fields was technically solved!!! But there are specific people behind all these brilliant decisions. And then I thought, what is so special about some people that allows them to reach incredible horizons and what others do not have? Looking for an answer, first of all, I realized what is the main limiting factor for many. Strangely enough, but this is the same thing that in many ways shapes and supports the regular life of any society — stereotypes, patterns of behavior, ideas of how everything should and can be. Each of us has our own consciously or unconsciously established horizons of achievable. These are the boundaries of the reality in which each of us lives, a barrier that cannot be overcome. And all that is in our power is to expand these horizons as widely as we want. But how to do it? I found the answer in the words of one of the founders of Soviet and Russian cosmonautics.

Beyond gravity. What trust and responsibility mean
I was once asked to speak about the role of trust in space activities. That’s what really got me to look at my entire space experience through the respective «light filter».

And it became clear:
— why I wasn’t scared at the start or during the descent from orbit;
— why exactly I was assigned to a crew with such a busy and complicated flight program;
— that the awareness of the trust placed in you is the highest degree of motivation to do your job perfectly;
— that trust is the only possible foundation on which the team can be built.

This is why I consider the pair of qualities «trust» and «responsibility» as fundamental in our life as a double helix of DNA. And along this spiral, like a spiral staircase, we go through life either up or down.

The boy who dreamed about stars. My space way
«Once, I realized that I wanted to become an astronaut. Not knowing where to start, I turned to my schoolteacher for advice, and she suggested a possible path. As I progressed along this path, various obstacles arose. Sometimes it seemed that overcoming them was beyond my capabilities, but time after time I managed to prevail.

The people I met along the way who learned about my goal reacted differently. The vast majority simply did not take my words seriously, and some even thought I was out of touch with reality. Over time, the following fact became clear to me: as soon as a person stops believing in their capabilities, they forever close the door to potential horizons. More precisely, each of us initially, often unconsciously, determines our own horizon of possibilities in our aspirations, whatever they may be. Whether we reach these chosen horizons or not depends on many factors, but going beyond them is impossible. The only thing we can do is not to set these horizons too narrow from the very beginning».

How to define your horizons, how to choose a professional track best suited for you, what to do when obstacles on your path seem insurmountable, and how to communicate with representatives of other cultures? Aleksandr Misurkin will share his insights on space approaches to solving these challenges and, of course, about space technologies.

The rules of space are the rules of success
One day, on my first flight, I asked myself: «Why am I so lucky?» And, in fact, I was the youngest person aboard the ISS since it had been in operation. Our crew practiced a quick rendezvous scheme for the first time.

I have three spacewalks, one of which is a record length. And I was trained for my first flight not in the average 10 years, but in 6 years and a half. I seriously thought about it: «What is this — a fortunate coincidence or the natural result of something that I was not even aware of until now?»

My surprise was very great when I realized that in all my activities I had unknowingly followed a number of rules. This is how I have discovered my rules of space, and following them has determined success of my activity. And the first of these is never to hesitate in the belief that the impossible is nothing.

Personal responsibility or personal brand? Key to the space mission success
In addition to the unforgettable impressions of contemplating our planet, I returned from each of my flights with new observations about human relations. That’s really true, we get to know the world around us in order to know ourselves better.

I went on my third flight with the goal of transporting a tourist crew safely and reliably, operating a spaceship alone for the first time. Imperceptibly, even at the stage of preparation, I realized that not only the fact of the safe flight of people who trusted me personally is important for me — it is also important that after the flight they highly appreciate Roscosmos work and recommend it as the best service in the field of space tourism. This largely determined my activity both before and during the flight. Therefore, when, after some time, I learned about Maezawa-san’s desire to perform another flight with Roscosmos and me personally, I realized that I had achieved my goals completely, and also saw in a new light the importance of personal responsibility for the project as a whole, regardless of the scale of your position in it.

And when today I hear the phrase «personal brand», I understand it this way — people trust people. And every day, with our acts and deeds, we create our own image in the eyes of others, which they trust more or less.

Life in space and its prospects on Earth
The most beautiful thing I have seen in space is our planet. When you press your face against the porthole window, your breathing and pulse slow down, and you immerse yourself in the process of contemplation.
There is an almost physical feeling of the uniqueness and perfection of Earth on one hand, and its fatal vulnerability to the cold, hostile universe on the other. But when I ask myself the question, ’Is our planet and our life the only one of its kind?’ I realize that the question is not whether there is life in the universe, but when we will find it.

The only thing is, as we gaze at the distant stars in anticipation of this meeting, are we not missing something much more important here on Earth? The process of evolution took billions of years, and now events have dramatically accelerated. Technological growth is exponential, but can humanity mature and mentally keep up with its increasingly vast possibilities? Isaac Asimov once said on this subject, «The saddest aspect of life today is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.»

We are approaching the singularity point of our civilization, after which a qualitative transformation of life may await us. There are already harbingers of fantastic possibilities, such as victory over diseases and aging, unimaginable transformations into android or digital forms of existence, unity with the worldwide network, and symbiosis with the civilization of artificial intelligence...

We are already at the «horizon of events,» what will happen to us in a few steps? Will we pass through this critical point, fundamentally transformed, or will we plunge ourselves into the abyss and turn to dust, to repeat the entire path of evolution from the very beginning? It depends only on ourselves.

But I agree with American actor and comedian Irwin Corey, if we do not hurry to change direction, we risk arriving where we departed from.

Alexander Misurkin, pilot — cosmonaut.

Human and their footprint on Earth and in space
We have learned to fly into space, we look with interest into its depths in search of everything interesting.

It is in our nature to be inquisitive and explore the world. We are passionately looking for worlds similar to ours, we are discussing the possibility of terraforming Mars — on the one hand. On the other hand, in space we behave the same way as here on Earth — carelessly and with disregard for everything that surrounds us. We have placed millions of pieces of space debris in near-Earth orbit, on Earth we confidently continue to change the ecosphere, making it less habitable, and we are irrevocably reducing life itself in its biological diversity.

We live in the period of the 6th global extinction on our planet, the cause of which is ourselves.

I have imagined myself landing on Mars many times. What would I do first of all after leaving the lander? I probably would have looked around, giving it about 5 minutes, then realized that I wanted to go home, and would have started looking for my home in the sky — for our home.

The Earth today is the only habitat of our civilization, and, in my opinion, before you run somewhere in search of new worlds, you need to learn how to use your own harmoniously without destroying it. And after all, we have everything for this, technically we are able to take global environmental problems under control. But what we don’t have is unity, understanding that the Earth is our common home, and we ourselves are the source of big impending problems. We have no awareness of ourselves as united civilization. Mentally, we still live as separate tribes. And that’s the problem. While the most important resource that will allow us to change the situation is running out.

This resource is time.

Living and working remotely — on Earth as in space
In 2020, almost every person on Earth had a truly cosmic experience of self-isolation, with which also came the most unexpected difficulties

— restriction of movement;
— imbalance of mental and physical activity;
— no boundaries between personal and work time;
— the presence of relatives, which suddenly grew considerably more.

If you can solve these questions, you are a real cosmonaut, who, on a big spaceship called «Earth», is confidently racing across the expanses of the galaxy to meet new challenges :)

What space can teach us. Personal life hacks of development.

«All people are divided into three groups: those who see, those who see when they are shown and those who do not see.»
Leonardo Da Vinci

What has space given me? An opportunity to see, feel and realize the fragile beauty and uniqueness of our world called Earth!

But I also learned how to influence the success of my activities, how a team is formed and how it works, I understood the fundamental importance of such qualities as trust and responsibility, what stress is and how to interact with it, what determines resilience and efficiency in conditions of accelerating changes.

Experience comes to a person in different conditions, in space among others, but it is not conditions that teach, but people who, under these conditions, enter the communicational sphere of this person, but the first is this person being a sself-teacher. The main thing is to be observant and be able to analyze. I think that’s what Leonardo was talking about.

What qualities are important for activities in space? What are the most sought-after abilities in the era of artificial intelligence on Earth? What is the connection between them? I will be glad to share my observations with you.


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Another space

I have got acquainted with you thanks to the profession of a cosmonaut. And even though it happened much later than I would like now, you came into my life so easily and became an integral part of it, as if you had always been in it.

Today I know for sure that badminton is not just a sport, it is a lifestyle that allows you to increase its duration and quality of life. I hadn’t seen more mobile people at the age of 65 than those on the badminton court. In my opinion, the best way to relieve stress and have fun with friends is to play badminton. That’s why on January 1, 2018, the entire crew played badminton aboard the ISS. Thus, badminton was the first playing sport to leave the Earth’s atmosphere. Wishing to share badminton with our fellow countrymen in the Oryol region, we created the Badminton Federation of the Oryol region. We started by setting an unofficial Guinness World Record on June 23, 2018 — I was playing badminton with all wishing people for exactly 24 hours. And on August 04, 2018, we held our first tournament. Today badminton is one of the basic sports in Orel, both adults and children are engaged in it, more than 100 tournaments have been held. Start playing badminton right now and you’ll wish you had done it earlier :)

In 2016 just before my leaving for Baikonur as the backup crew commander, somebody called me from an unknown number. It was Alyona Kuzmenko, a nice girl with a noble heart and unbending will, as I later learned.

Alyona and her team «Unity» help children who have a terrible disease — cancer. They cheer them up, help to see the beauty of this world and try to attract public attention to this global issue.

ART PROJECT «The Space Suit» I had been skeptical about art therapy until I accidentally heard a legend about the 19th century glass-blower from the town of Gus-Khrustalny, Razumey Vasiliev. The legend has it that for his sick daughter this master made a bouquet of crystal flowers which helped her to feel the joy of life again and to recover. This story touched me to the quick and I saw the essence of what Alyona was doing. And later we were able to create a special «overcoat» for the spacesuit Orlan, to deliver it to the board of the international space station and then back to the Earth. We called it «Victory». Little patients from various cancer centers with the help of the artists from the Unity team painted «Victory» — they depicted on it their most secret desires. On board the international space station I looked through the children’s paintings and one of them caught my eye at once — it was a little prince, to be more exact, a Little Princess with her rose. It was a curious coincidence because right at that time I was listening to the audio-book «The Little Prince» by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It made me know at once which emblem I and Anton Shkaplerov would use for our spacewalk. I am grateful to all my colleagues who helped us to carry out this project, those of them who managed to remain kind-hearted and capable of thinking not only about personal benefits. I wish all our little painters a quick recovery!

Vera Polozkova in space
The Little Prince on Earth and in space
Space poetry. Elena Ustiyantseva
Space fun
New Year in space
Space will not wait
Mankind's rush into space is accelerating! 🚀

Space industry market 5 years ago was €250 billion; today it is €300 billion, which is 7 times bigger than the Artificial Intelligence market. By mid-century, the space industry market is projected at the level of €2.3 trillion. This means that the space is closer to each of us than we think. That’s why we organized this project together with the Cosmonautics Museum in Moscow, in order to highlight the history of space exploration in the past, its development in the present and prospects for the future.

Our project was awarded the 2nd degree diploma of the All-Russian Prize «For Fidelity to Science» in the category «The best online project about science,» but most importantly, the project was interesting to our citizens. And I will be very happy if it helps in the formation of future followers of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev and Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin, because space will not wait!


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May 19, 2023
One of the reasons I love the profession of an astronaut is that the whole process of preparing for a space flight gives you a wide range of tools for personal development, for example, to increase the level of self-confidence. And the degree of influence of this trait on our life achievements and life satisfaction in general is difficult to overestimate.
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We Can Only Succeed if We Believe in Ourselves!
September 13, 2018
I’ve been asked many times, «How come that so many boys and girls dream about space but so few of them achieve their dream?». I explain that it is very important not to be afraid of your ambitions, deal with the challenges and go on to pursuit your goals.
«...we climbed up the ropes, then down, then up again ... then we swam across underground lakes and at those moments I recalled scenes from modern science fiction films I so well knew - «This film seems to be shot on this location, and that film seems to be shot here…» It was so breathtaking!»
«What then is my name to you»
July 25, 2016
When I was at one of our regular sessions in Houston, I could not but fly for a weekend to visit my friend in Los Angeles, simply because we are close friends and also because we had some business to finish...
July 10, 2017
The examination complex training is far behind now, I can breathe out and relax for a couple of days. We have not yet left for Baikonur to see off Sergei's crew, but we are already beginning our preparation and training as the main crew of the Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft...


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Hero of Russia Alexander Misurkin
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