By Mary Kouinoglou
He was chosen to be the first civilian from Greece and Australia to travel to space. He is a global wealth strategist, successful entrepreneur, international speaker, high adrenalin adventurer, best-selling author and an astronaut. Nik Halik or Nikos Halikopoulos is a Thrillionaire.
Who’s Greek in your family?
Both parents are Greek. My father’s name was Konstantinos Halikopoulos (which was later cut short to Halik in the mid-1970s). My parents chose to shorten our surname, because almost everyone misspelled or mispronounced it. I was born Nikos Halikopoulos. Both my parents had emigrated from the Peloponnese region, a large peninsula in southern Greece. My father was a complex character, an enigma. He was born in the historical village of Hora, Messinia. Hora was built on a hilltop and has preserved its old-fashioned appearance – stone houses with tiled roofs and narrow lanes. Just outside my father’s village of Hora lies the famous ruined palace of Nestor, who took part in the Trojan War. Nestor was an Argonaut, who was part of a band of heroes who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason and the other Argonauts in his quest to find the Golden Fleece.
My mother Dionisia Antonopoulos had left her remote village of Raftopoulo in the upper mountain regions of the Peloponnese, in southern Greece.
Do you often visit Greece?
I normally spend the summer each year in Greece.
Do you speak Greek?
Yes, I speak, read and write Greek.
Have you studied? If so, where?
I studied in Australia.
Which of your occupations do you enjoy the most?
I don’t really have an occupation….
Are you happy with what you have achieved in your life so far?
I originally wrote down my top 10 goals when I was 8 years of age!
8 goals down…2 to go…
Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
Completing my astronaut certification and being in a position in becoming the first ever qualified and flight certified Greek and Australian Astronaut.
Which was the most exciting adventure you have experienced?
So far…having lunch on the deck of the TITANIC…5 miles deep…
What made you decide to become an astronaut?
I was 4 when I declared to my parents that I wanted to become an Astronaut.
I was inspired by the Apollo moon landings…
What did your training involve?
It’s been a 5 year journey training in Russia. My main Space Training took place at Star City Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Space Centre, not far from Moscow. It has become Russia’s only “school of cosmonauts”. There are four training steps that all aspiring cosmonauts must complete prior to embarking on a mission into space. The first step to becoming “space worthy” is the Medical Qualification Phase. Participants undergo the most intense medical examination of their lives. Over the course of ten days, I was given a variety of detailed medical tests at Moscow’s Institute of Medical and Biological Problems. Then, I was ready for the theoretical lessons, lectures and active hands-on simulator training. Finally, I learnt how to work as valuable member of a cosmonaut team and trained with other members of my assigned mission team.
Are you apprehensive of any particular aspect of space travel?
Space has no fear for me. At this point of my life, I want to travel into outer space for eternity…
Do you consider yourself an adrenaline junkie?
Absolutely! I love thrills and the quality of life…
What are your future plans? What’s your next adventure?
The INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION and walking on the moon….