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18 December 2017

WorldSkills flag goes into space

The WorldSkills flag traveled to the International Space Station on board the Soyuz MS-07 spaceship that launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on 17 December 2017.

The flag was delivered to the International Space Station by the crew, consisting of Anton Shkaplerov, Russian cosmonaut from the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC), Norishige Kanai, JAXA astronaut from Japan, and Scott David Tingle, NASA astronaut from the USA.

Anton Shkaplerov, Soyuz MS-07 Crew Commander, shared his thoughts the day before the launch, "Even at the International Space Station professional skills are important. At least you have to know how to tighten the nuts and repair the mechanisms with the help of common tools you use every day at the garage. The most important is to bring together as many people as possible to WorldSkills Kazan 2019!"

Present at the event was President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Deputy Chairman of WorldSkills Kazan 2019 Organizing Committee, Rustam Minnikhanov, who shared his thoughts on the day.

“The significant event for our country took place today — we sent the WorldSkills flag into space.  We think that WorldSkills is not merely a fashion choice. We show respect for vocational professionals. We aim to raise the status of vocational occupations in society to make them as respectable as our world champions and Olympic medalists. They're given an important task — to represent the level of vocational training in our country. We need to deliver the Competition on the highest."

 The day before the launch, Sergei Krikalev, Russian cosmonaut, was officially revealed as a WorldSkills Kazan 2019 Ambassador.

"As a cosmonaut, you should know how to work with your hands and use your head. This is exactly what the young professionals will do while getting ready and competing at WorldSkills Kazan 2019. I wish all the best of luck to the organizers. The events like this will attract the youth to engage in industry and space activities," said Sergei Krikalev at the initiation ceremony.

The flag’s space flight is a part of the WorldSkills Flag Relay, which started in October 2017. The flag was officially handed over to Kazan, the next host city of the Competition, on 20 October during the Closing Ceremony of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017. The relay kicked off during the flag welcome event that took place on the sidelines of the World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi on 21 October.

The flag will return to Earth on 28 February 2018, and the relay will continue its journey across 21 countries that earlier hosted the WorldSkills Competitions. 

After the international leg, the WorldSkills Flag Relay will continue to make its way through 85 regions of the Russian Federation, as well as 43 municipal districts and 2 city districts of the Republic of Tatarstan. At the end of its journey, the WorldSkills flag will be delivered to Kazan for the Opening Ceremony of WorldSkills Kazan 2019