Aleksandr Laveykin celebrates his birthday today. He spent 174 days in space on Mir in 1987.
My favourite quote from him comes from Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars:
"You really feel the absence of a woman," Laveikin tells us. "There are sexual dreams, as a substitute. It’s constant through the flight. We were even discussing that maybe we have to take something from the sex shops. It was discussed at [Institute for Biomedical Problems]."
Laveikin breaks into English, as he does sometimes to tweak a translation: ”A rubber woman.” A blow-up doll. Ground control, he says, nixed the idea. “They said, ‘If you would do that, then we would need to put it in your schedule for the day.’ “