First astronaut of independent Ukraine, Leonid Kadenyuk (1951-2018)
"My dream was born on 12 April 1961, when the first human being flew into space. I was 10 years old then. [... ] If a boy from the village of Bukovyna could make this dream come true, anyone can", recalled Leonid Kadenyuk, the first astronaut of independent Ukraine, at the beginning of his "space journey".
Leonid Kadenyuk was assigned to an astronaut team of the State Space Agency of Ukraine in 1995, and in 1997 he participated in the STS-87 mission and, together with an international team, launched into space aboard the U. S. Space Shuttle Columbia. He conducted biological experiments with plants on the International Space Station (ISS) during a 15-day mission. Kadenyuk put what he saw, experienced and felt into a book, Mission - Space, published in 2009, in which he confessed that the feeling of an unfinished space mission had not left him until he wrote the book.
Leonid Kadenyuk, a test pilot and astronaut, visited Lithuania and the Lithuanian Museum of Ethnocosmology at the end of 2016. He told us in the meetings that our Earth is so beautiful from space that "I want to believe that life here must be very harmonious and beautiful. And who is to blame that it is not so? Humans themselves, causing wars and polluting the atmosphere."
The virtual exhibition features photographs left by Leonid Kadenyuk to the Lithuanian Museum of Ethnocosmology.
Prepared by Irma Balčiūnienė and Jolanta Slavinskienė, Lithuanian Museum of Ethnocosmology