STAR CITY- Michael Najjar
has successfully taken a cosmonaut training program at GCTC, the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. Inaugurated on January 11, 1960, the training center changed its name in 1969 to honor Yuri Gagarin, the first man to fly in space. Throughout its history, the mission of the GCTC has been to prepare and train cosmonauts for a variety of space flights through realistic simulation of space conditions here on earth.
Michael´s first training phase included two major milestones: weightlessness in a spacewalk simulation with the heavy Orlan-M spacesuit in the gigantic water tank of the Hydrolab, and an Edge of Space flight with the famous Russian jetfighter MIG-29 where he was catapulted with supersonic speed into the stratosphere, reaching a height of 19,500 meters. Whilst completing his training Michael also managed to shoot new material for his "outer space" series.
strategic planning, logistics and organization of Michael´s mission was realized by space expert Andreas P. Bergweiler from PRO TOURA / Space Affairs.
Michael was accompanied at Star City by the renowned international photographer Thomas Rusch who made a photo and video documentary of the artist in training.