site.btaUPDATED The Bulgarian Footprint in Space: BTA Unveils New Issue of Its LIK Magazine

BTA held a special event for the launch of its April issue of its LIK magazine themed "The Bulgarian Footprint in Space". It took place at the National Press Club in Sofia with video links from 35 BTA national press clubs in the country and abroad. This issue, which will also be published in English, is dedicated to the 45th anniversary of the first space flight by a Bulgarian, Georgi Ivanov, on April 10, 1979, and by the contribution of Bulgarian science to space research.

BTA Director General Kiril Valchev said at the event in Sofia that it is not meant only to present the new issue of LIK but to honour a major accomplishment for Bulgaria when it became the sixth country to send a man in space. He remembered going to Baikonur with his daughter several years ago – then she was 13 – to visit the same place where Georgi Ivanov was launched into space. In the group were many Italians and when his daughter asked them if they knew that Bulgaria was the sixth country to send a person to space, they laughed and refused to believe her. But in Baikonur they saw the photos of the cosmonauts and the national flags – and they knew she told them the truth and asked to be photographed with her. That episode played a role for Valchev’s daughter later in life to stay in her home country and make her dreams come true here. “It turns out that Bulgaria is a country where dreams can come true,” he concluded.

Singer Valya Balkanska, whose recording of the song Izlel ye Delyo Haydutin was launched in space in 1977 as part of the Voyager program, spoke at the event in video conference from the Smolyan BTA Press Club.

Balkanska said she was proud of the fact that people around the world have listened to a Bulgarian song. She said: "There was a national gathering in Koprivshtitsa in 1965, and I sang it there first. In 1968 they sought me out, we made the recording and quite by chance I learned that the song had been chosen to fly in space."

In video conference from Georgi Ivanov's home town of Lovech, Mayor Stratsimir Petkov said "everybody thinks warmly of this great Bulgarian". He said that the celebrations on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of Ivanov's flight started on March 22. Ivanov often welcomes local children in his home, said he mayor. He also pointed out that his town has traditions in building planes: a state-owned plane building factory existed there between 1939 and 1954. 

Petkov was in the Lovech BTA Press club together with the head of the local office of the State Archive and officials of the regional history museum and the town library.

Valentina Tsvetkova, the only female pilot to fly a government airplane in Bulgaria, also participated in the event via video conference. She shared that Ivanov was one of her idols, back when she was still trying to launch her career, and added: "At that time, they didn't want women in civil aviation, but after 1989 [when the communist regime in Bulgaria fell], I was allowed to enter a competition at Hemus Air. That's how my path in civil aviation began. I realized my dream and continue to fly to this day."

In chronological order, the magazine quotes highlights from the news archive and pictures from the BTA photo archives, which trace the long history of the relationship between Bulgaria and space. LIK Managing Editor Yanitsa Hristova said at the press-launch that the issue "makes the best use of the rich archive of BTA". 

BTA provided especially enthusiastic coverage of the two space flights involving Bulgarians: Georgi Ivanov in 1979 and Alexander Alexandrov in 1988.

The new LIK also has an interview with Georgi Ivanov. "From a distance of 300 to 400 km, the Earth looks very beautiful with its blue green oceans and seas. Large white patches of cloud are visible, and the stars are much brighter. During our flight, there was a full moon and it was very beautiful against the background of the black sky," Ivanov says in the LIK interview.

The guests at the LIK special event watched a BTA interview with Dimitru Prunariu, the only Romanian citizen and only person from a Balkan country after Bulgaria to send a man to space. "Georgi Ivanov was the first of our group who flew in space. He had less time to prepare and used it intensely. Getting prepared was hard for him because he had lots of things to learn in a very short time. The problem was there was a flaw in his spacecraft. There was a glitch and we all stood and watched, unable to swallow, waiting to see how it will end. But history made sure Georgi Ivanov remain the first Bulgaria cosmonaut despite the failed docking with the Salyut-6 station," Prunariu said.

Two years after Georgi Ivanov, on May 14, 1981, he became the first and only Romanian to fly in space.

Another guest at the LIK event, Associate Professor Vesselka Radeva, Head of the Planetarium at the Varna Naval Academy, believes that Bulgaria has left "a huge footprint" in space research. "While undoubtedly the greatest achievement for any country is to have an astronaut, and Bulgaria has two who have seen the planet from high above and a third who was prepared to launch, Bulgaria has many other achievements, and one example is the Institute of Space Research and Technology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, whose work is related to mastering the space in all its aspects," she said. 

"Touching the Moon and Mars is the future and Bulgarians can and must participate," Radeva said. She added that students of the Naval Academy Space Society are currently completing a project for a NASA computer simulation program for bases on the far side of the Moon. They are also doing simulations of real missions that are yet to be implemented. Many countries, including Bulgaria, will reach the lunar surface in the coming years," she said.

Press Trust of India's Editor-in-Chief and CEO Vijay Joshi also attended the event in Sofia.

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By 17:58 on 20.05.2024 Today`s news

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