World-famous astronauts have also visited the Department of Aeronautics and Astronomy of the Faculty of General Medicine of the University of Szeged, whose courses have been completed by more than 2,500 students over the past twenty years, and about a hundred doctors have taken examinations here. The medical examination of Bertalan Farkas took place in the Kecskemét building, and the medical fitness of the second Hungarian astronaut candidate can also be tested here.
There are only three locations in Europe: King’s College London, the Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg and the University of Szeged, which provides the infrastructure, personnel and material conditions for operation.
Hungary intends to send an astronaut into space in the mid-2020s. The country’s space strategy has been developed and implemented with the help of experts. The experts of the University of Szeged also participate in the implementation of the Hungarian space strategy, in the selection of the second Hungarian astronaut, and in the related scientific program. The aim is to coordinate the activities of some of the institutes of the University of Szeged involved in this field related to space research, and to coordinate the possible cooperation with other Hungarian higher education institutions and research sites.
Medical students in Szeged who graduate next year and start training in aeronautical and astronomy at the MSc and then pass a professional exam have a chance to participate as a resident in the selection of the second Hungarian astronaut. Currently, 154 Hungarian and 120 foreign students study here, a significant part of them are women. The curriculum is complex and exciting: the physiological aspects and clinical foundations of aeronautical and space medicine, as well as travel medicine. According to the topic, students will also learn about the diseases that occur during air travel and the effects of short- and long-term flights on the body, but they will also learn the medicine of diving, mountaineering and skiing. In the aero-medical module, students learn about the International Space Station’s (ISS) health insurance system, neurological and psychiatric aspects of aero-medicine. Prospective specialists will learn the basics of the civil as well as military aero-medical competency rating system, which means they will be able to test pilots to see if they are medically fit to fly.
The only baroque chamber in the country also operates in the department. From May 1977, the astronaut candidates were examined here, of whom Bertalan Farkas and Béla Magyari finally advanced to training in Russia. The department examines, among other things, a person’s ability to work in extreme environmental conditions. This baroque chamber system will simulate the atmospheric pressure conditions that will put a strain on those working in an oxygen-deficient environment: fighter pilots, helicopter pilots, sport aircraft, divers and, of course, future astronauts. NATO-compliant training is also held here: in conditions equivalent to 7600-8000 meters.