As Sergei Krikalev, Executive Director for Manned Space Programs at Roscosmos and distinguished astronaut, commented, this year's competition was marked by a broad geography. Master’s and PhD students from Moscow and Moscow Oblast, Siberia, Kazan, Dagestan, St. Petersburg and other regions applied for the Gagarin Scholarship. The range of topics of their research works was also wide.

"Space exploration is indeed a very broad area which includes not only the engineering sciences that deal with the actual production of rockets and spacecrafts. Electronics, management, planning, standardization, etc. are just as important here. I hope that young scientists here can enrich the experience and widen the perspectives of those who have worked in this field for many years - and space exploration will take a leap forward," - suggests Sergei Krikalev.

According to Maxim Kharlamov, Deputy Chief at the Cosmonaut Training Center (CTC), the jury decided to establish five more honorary diplomas with a one-time monetary reward (besides the three main scholarships) for those students who did not become scholars, but whose work is worthy of further development.


The jury determines winners by evaluating students’ academic performance (only those who have "good" and "excellent" marks for the entire training period can participate in the competition). Participation in any projects or research, contribution to any inventions, as well as practical activities in the field of manned space exploration are considered a plus.

"Scientific achievements in the field of space exploration: active participation in research activities, public presentations of scientific research, participation in conferences and respective publications - all of it must have influenced the jury’s decision," - says Tatiana Shemigon, a Master’s student at ITMO’s Department of Applied and Computer Optics, who was named among the five winners of the Gagarin Scholarship.

Tatiana has been dealing with space exploration topics for several years already. Her Bachelor's thesis dealt with the development of a collimator which can simulate the external visual environment in the window of a spacecraft simulator. Tatiana can already boast several research papers on space exploration. Her Master's thesis deals with the invention of an ultra-wide-angle lens for  the internal and external surveillance video cameras of a spacecraft.

"It was my decision to take part in the contest. It was quite difficult, but not difficult enough to make me lose all hope and give up. I would like to express my gratitude to the Student Research Department, especially to Ekaterina Khorosheva and  Vasilisa Ezhova, secretary of the Department of Applied and Computer Optics. Thank you for all your help. I had waited for the jury’s decision for a little more than a month. I was quite nervous at the award ceremony because I was to receive such high honor for the first time. I was very touched by the words of all speakers that day. I could feel the honor and respect of all the people present at the award ceremony. Vasily Tsibliyev, a cosmonaut and a Hero of Russia, awarded me with a certificate at the ceremony," - Tatiana Shemigon shares.

Along with ITMO’s Tatiana Shemigon, Vasily Latonov, PhD student at MSU’s Department of Applied Mechanics and Control, and Anton Kravchunovsky, Bachelor’s student at SibU’s Department of Aircraft at the Institute of Space Technology, also became Gagarin Scholars this year.

Heroes of Russia and USSR, cosmonauts: Yuri Malenchenko, Pyotr Klimuk, Vasily Tsibliyev, Yury Onufriyenko and Valeri Tokarev awarded the winners at the ceremony. The award ceremony was held in the ISS simulator hall, where the students could learn more about the everyday lives of astronauts.