Have the Russians already had sex in space – and have they even fathered offspring? Astronaut Ulrich Walter gets to the bottom of this question. And says: Yes, there was already sex in orbit – purely “scientifically” of course.

Yes, there was sex in orbit before. However, purely “scientific”. Say the Russians.

There is no question about it, a woman on board a space mission has an extremely positive impact on the social atmosphere among astronauts. Americans have known this for a long time. That was always a reason for them to have a woman on every shuttle mission, if possible, despite the worldwide shortage of women in this field, and even today they regularly fly women on the space station.

Apart from the fact that, according to NASA, women are the better astronauts because they are more robust and less “whiny” in the tough and uncomfortable day-to-day business up there, the male astronauts are said to be more polite and “not so rude” to one another when they are around. This should also be expressed in a more pleasant radio communication with them.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Walter has a doctorate in physics and is a scientific astronaut. Walter embarked with six other astronauts in late April 1993 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia for the D-2 mission bound for Earth orbit. Since March 2003 he has held the chair for space technology at the Technical Elite University in Munich and teaches and researches in the field of robotics in space and system technology. His SPIEGEL bestseller The Devil’s Gone in the Black Hole, Hell’s Ride Through Space and Time, A Different View of the World and The Crazy World of Physics have been published byKomplett-Media Verlag. His documentary series Spacetime on YouTube was also viewed internationally by up to 3.3 million viewers per broadcast. His textbook Astronautics – The Physics of Spaceflight with 2.8 million downloads is the standard work for space travel at universities worldwide.

Beregovoi, the former head of the Russian Cosmonaut Center in Star City near Moscow, once put it this way: “We noticed that during training the whole working atmosphere and the mood in a group of men and women is just better than in an all-male group. Group. Somehow, women influence relationships in a small team very positively, and that in turn stimulates the team’s productivity.”

When it comes to sex, the Russians are generally much more “experimental” than the Americans, also out of scientific interest. A certain Lyubov Serova, a scientist at the famous Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow, confirmed in an interview with Space.com in March 2000 that the IBMP had been conducting “sex-oriented studies of living species in space” for decades.

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What are the possible missions on which such “gender experiments” could have been conducted? In 1963, the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, flew on Vostok 6 to meet Valeri Bykowski in Vostok 5. However, it remains questionable whether she also had a personal rendezvous with him, as this was the only flight so far where a woman and a man were alone in space. In any case, no new citizen of the earth emerged from this flight.

However, it is said that the Russian party had Valentina and Dr. Andriyan Nikolayev, who spent four days in space as cosmonaut general in 1962, was urged to marry. The background: The scientists wanted to find out whether children of two astronauts have special characteristics. In fact, the daughter Jelena emerged from this marriage, a completely normal child, as they say. However, the marriage concluded in this way did not last long, Valentina and Andrijan separated again soon afterwards.

Personally, I think it is impossible that during the six-month stay of the then 53-year-old US astronaut Shannon Lucid on the MIR station in 1996 there were any intimate contacts. After their flight, which lasted more than seven months, all Russian cosmonauts respected Lucid’s great astronautical experience. The respect was especially her resolute and motherly manner, which she allegedly had everything under control.

“The beautiful Elena”, my astronaut colleague Ulf Merbold said about his colleague Yelena Kondakova, with whom he spent a month on the MIR station in 1994, radiated completely different charms. But the married cosmonaut’s relationship with her male colleagues during her nearly six months at humanity’s outpost was not equally carefree. The Russian Valerij Poljakov, who was a trained doctor on the MIR at the time and still holds the world record for staying in space with 437 days, complained about Yelena in a newspaper interview: “I had problems with Yelena Kondakova. She supposedly seemed like I wasn’t paying her enough attention.”

“Höllenritt durch Raum und Zeit” by Ulrich Walter was published in 2017 byKomplett-Media Verlag.

Anyone who knows Poljakov can understand Yelena all too well. Poljakov, a rather introverted, reclusive contemporary, is the ideal space traveler to set such records. Anyone else would probably have failed.

Thereafter, there were two more women’s visits to the MIR station: Englishwoman Helen Sharman in May 1991 and Frenchwoman Claudie Andre-Deshays in August 1996. However, they stayed in this male bastion for only 6 and 14 days respectively. Anyway, enough time… But since these visits had no further consequences, the question “Do you have it or not?” should be left to the ladies as a personal little secret that, after all, each of us has somewhere.

The eight-day visit of the then unmarried 34-year-old Svetlana Savitskaya from August 19 to 27, 1982 at the Salyut 7 orbital station, where two men were already waiting for her as long-term crew, can safely be regarded as the first attempt at procreation in space. First there is the statement by the space doctor and head of the IBMP and team doctor at the time, Prof. Oleg Georgievich Gazenko, who repeatedly stated that this flight was carried out with precisely this intention, among other things. And is it a coincidence that Svetlana Savitskaya got there on the fertile days of her menstrual cycle?

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The atmosphere before the visit was tense, we learn from Anatoly Berezovoy’s diary. At that time he was on the Salyut 7 with Valentin Lebedev as a long-term crew and wrote a diary, which was only made public by his wife Lidia Berezovaya after his death in September 2014. There he writes that on the one hand he was impressed by Savitskaya’s aeronautical skills. She held three world records for skydiving and 15 for jet flying.

On the other hand, Berezovoy emphasizes that at that time space flight in the Soviet Union was purely a man’s business and cosmonauts, including him, found a woman in space to be “exotic”. Therefore, the two were happy “to be able to hand over the work in the Salyut kitchen to Svetlana”. To mark this, they gave her a kitchen apron when she arrived at Salyut Station on August 20. To do this, they prepared “the most comfortable place to sleep in the ward, namely on the right-hand wall” for them. Supposedly, however, Savitskaya refused the gift when she arrived with the request that the two of them continue with the kitchen work as before.

About the eight days of the five cosmonauts on board, Lebedev writes: “She [Savitskaya] spent a long time in the transport capsule [to the station] preparing (…) like every woman, she made herself beautiful (…).” ” When Savitskaya was on board, the five crew members behaved differently. They shaved almost twice a day and helped her with space biology experiments. She did some kitchen chores and Solovyev, who didn’t like tomatoes, ate them ‘happily’ now that they were cooked by Savitskaya.”

These statements are not only consistent, but also compelling because the US and Russia were still in the Cold War at the time, and the Russians after Gargarin as the first man in space, Tereshkova as the first woman in space, Leonov with his first spacewalk, themselves understood as pioneers of space travel, where they could still be one step ahead of the Americans. The first procreation in space fitted the concept very well. However, fertilization did not occur at the time, at least that is what Gazenko told his then German medical colleague Hans Guido Mutke, and the fact is undoubtedly that no offspring resulted from this.