Friday, November 13, 2020

A look at when Covid19 infiltrated Star City, the home of Russia's space program

Long article from Reuters. Here's the setting:

“Star City is not just some city. The residents there are not easy,” said Irina Antropova, who worked with Lebedeva on the town’s ambulance service from 2006 until 2009. Fewer than 6,000 people live in the town’s dozen or so apartment blocks, many of them working for the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. “They are cosmonauts, the families of cosmonauts, military personnel.”


The town’s status, and the fame of its residents, ramped up the stress. Rumors spread fast in the insular town. “As it is a closed city, and outsiders do not have access to the territory, they all live there, stewing in this world of theirs,” 


That day, March 1, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy arrived in Star City to prepare, together with two Russian cosmonauts, for a six-month stint on the International Space Station.

As they trained, coronavirus cases in Russia crept up, and restrictions grew. “I hear the streets in Moscow are quiet and empty,” Cassidy told a specialist spaceflight magazine toward the end of the month. “Here in Star City, it’s kind of like this oasis in the woods.”