When the last batch of astronauts were sent to ISS, I read that the crew and rocket were blessed by a priest. Was this a one-time thing, or is it standard?

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    $\begingroup$ I could've sworn we had a question related to this before, but I can't find it. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Dec 5, 2016 at 14:47
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, All of them are priest blessed. $\endgroup$
    – m4n0
    Dec 5, 2016 at 21:22
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    $\begingroup$ Can someone.......refuse the blessing? I find priests to be a tad frightening. $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2016 at 0:25
  • $\begingroup$ I think if someone is shooting rockets in your direction, any blessing is welcome :) $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2016 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ Pilots are a superstitious bunch historically. Also, it doesn't hurt to hedge your bets :) $\endgroup$
    – Wossname
    Dec 7, 2016 at 18:04

2 Answers 2


It's standard procedure in Russia. Here's an article reporting on Scott Kelly's taxi ride to his year-long mission to the ISS in 2015:

The barricades to faith fell along with the Berlin Wall and religion now thrives in Russia and the cities and nations of the old empire. That includes Baikonur, where cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko and astronaut Scott Kelly will take off in the early hours of March 28 for a long-duration stay aboard the International Space Station—and where less than 37 hours before launch, three Russian Orthodox priests arrived to perform a blessing of the Soyuz rocket that will carry the men. . . .

Terrible things can happen when people dare to fly to space. It’s in the nature of human beings to make such presumptuous journeys anyway. And it’s in our nature too to seek a little safety and comfort before we do.

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    $\begingroup$ I like that quote at the end. Very poignant. $\endgroup$
    – Phiteros
    Dec 5, 2016 at 3:59
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    $\begingroup$ Chris Hadfield also mentions this in his (awesome) book "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth". Here's a picture too of Tom Marshburn receiving his blessing. $\endgroup$
    – BruceWayne
    Dec 5, 2016 at 8:46
  • $\begingroup$ It's not standard - there's no requirement for that, but 170k RUB (5-6k$ at that time) for a rocket makes enough of an incentive for a priest to bother. $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2016 at 12:35

For the first time it was in 1994, when Mir commander Alexander Viktorenko asked a priest to bless his rocket before launch See https://meduza.io/cards/zachem-osvyaschayut-rakety (in Russian, use Google translate)

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    $\begingroup$ A German astronaut said in an interview: The Russians believe in tradition. Every bus with astronauts to the launch pad stops for peeing at the same place where Gagarin stoped to pee. Therefore all rockets after 1994 are blessed. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Dec 9, 2016 at 15:25

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