STAR QUALITY; Glyndw r professors share stage with Russian cosmonaut in Moscow forum.
Byline: RHODRI BARKER
A COSMONAUT and "hero of the Soviet Union" has joined two North Wales professors in launching space technology talks at a prestigious Moscow conference.
Professors Alison McMillan and Peter Excell, of Wrexham's Glyndw r University, met Igor Volk at Bauman University, where the conference took place on the theme of Rocket and Space Technology: Fundamental and Applied Problems.
In a surprise appearance at the Moscow institution, Volk brought his personal experience of years of space travel to a discussion of the Russian and American space programmes.
The universities in North Wales and Russia enjoy a "close" and "very valuable" relationship, said Prof Excell. Prof McMillan, professor of Aerospace Engineering, presented on Modelling Sound Wave Propagation Using Explicit Finite Element Method, while Prof Excell delivered a keynote presentation on Compact Circularly Polarised Antennas for Satellite-Mobile Applications.
Prof Excell, Dean of the Institute for Arts, Science and Technology, said: "The link with Bauman is very valuable to Glyndw r University, so we were delighted to support this conference.
"Staff from Bauman attended our conference on Advanced Materials for Demanding Applications earlier this year and the close relationship between the two institutions has grown over the years.
"It was a fascinating conference, and there was an interesting surprise in store for us as well.
"Igor Volk, a cosmonaut and hero of the Soviet Union, gave a talk at the conference and lamented the cancellation of the Buran space shuttle project, of which he was head of the training programme.
"In other presentations, it was argued that the Russian programme had learned from deficiencies in the American one and could be safer and cheaper as a result.
"It was a very insightful and interesting event and we were honoured to represent Glyndw r University and be a part of it."
Volk was selected as a cosmonaut in 1980 and flew as Research Cosmonaut on Soyuz T-12, the seventh expedition to the Salyut 7 space station. One goal of the mission was to test the effects of long-duration space flight on Volk's return flight as a precursor to piloting the space shuttle Buran.
Volk served as the head of the cosmonauts training for the Buran programme. Following the programme's cancellation, he was a Flight Tests Deputy at the Gromov Flight research Institute until his retirement in 1996.
. ? For more information on engineering courses at Glyndw r University, visit glyndwr.ac.uk.
Professors Alison McMillan and Peter Excell with cosmonaut Igor Volk and (main) the cosmonaut with his Soyuz T-12 space crew