A Cosmonaut's Bad Dream: Don't Miss Your Space Shuttle Trip

Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly speak to press in the International Space Station.
Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko spoke to TIME mMagazine along with NASA aAstronaut Scott Kelly Thursday (Sept. 15), where they discussed their year-long mission in space. (Image credit: NASA)

Space travelers don't have to dream of flying, but Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, up on the International Space Station, revealed his own bad dream of missing the flight back to space in a recent televised interview.

Kornienko and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly are halfway through their one-year mission living on the space station, and they took the time to talk remotely with TIME magazine Thursday (Sept. 17), discussing life on the station and what they miss about home.

In response to a question about wishing he were back on Earth, the mostly silent Kornienko opened up: "Of course I'd like to go to Earth. Sometimes I see [in] the dream I have a vacation on Earth, and each time I forget — [I'm] too late to next shuttle to the space station," he said in the interview. [One Year in Space: Epic Space Station Mission in Photos]

"But it's a dream," he added. "I'd like to go to Earth, but exactly in scheduled time."

Kornienko also fielded a question about his sleeping arrangements — he's staying in the U.S. section of the station, as he did on his last stay five years ago. He still spends most of his time working in the Russian segment, he said, but there are only two sleeping areas there; the two other cosmonauts stay on that side, while he rooms within the U.S. section.

The International Space Station currently has six crewmembers aboard, which is exactly how many individual rooms there are for sleeping. Back when there were nine people aboard, from Sept. 4 to Sept. 12, the three newly arrived spacefarers brought sleeping bags into their own, smaller modules.

Two of those three new arrivals headed back to Earth after just over a week, as did one of the cosmonauts who arrived in March with Kornienko and Kelly. But the interviewing duo are in it for the long haul.

"For me, time on the station is like rubber," Kornienko said. "It's much, much longer than in Earth. But I am glad I am here with Scott, my friend — and a very good crewmember — and I'm sure all the tasks will be performed OK and we will do our mission very well."

This year-long mission is Kornienko's second career spaceflight; in 2010 he worked on the International Space Station for almost six months.

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Sarah Lewin
Associate Editor

Sarah Lewin started writing for Space.com in June of 2015 as a Staff Writer and became Associate Editor in 2019 . Her work has been featured by Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, Quanta Magazine, Wired, The Scientist, Science Friday and WGBH's Inside NOVA. Sarah has an MA from NYU's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program and an AB in mathematics from Brown University. When not writing, reading or thinking about space, Sarah enjoys musical theatre and mathematical papercraft. She is currently Assistant News Editor at Scientific American. You can follow her on Twitter @SarahExplains.