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Even Cosmonauts Can't Escape Russian Census - 2002-10-11

U.S. shuttle astronauts are preparing for another spacewalk Saturday to continue international space station construction. In the meantime, cosmonauts aboard the station are taking time to fill out Russian census forms.

Even cosmonauts in orbit cannot escape the long reach of the current Russian census, the first in the post-Soviet era.

A Russian supply rocket recently brought forms to the space station, where Valery Korzun, commander of the three-member Russian and U.S. crew, says he and flight engineer Sergei Treschev will complete them.

For publicity, the chief of the Russian census bureau asked Mr. Korzun several questions during an in-flight news conference the cosmonauts held with Moscow reporters Friday.

Census Chief: "Are you married?"

Korzun: "Yes, I am married."

Census Chief: "Where were you born?"

Korzun: "In the Moscow region in Russia."

Aboard the visiting shuttle Atlantis, U.S. astronauts prepare to embark on another spacewalk Saturday. They will continue setting up a section of the station backbone installed Thursday.

The 15-meter-long truss houses equipment to support future research laboratories.