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Russian astronauts to begin survival test in desert near Baikonur

August 08, 2012, 4:40 UTC+3

Apart from desert training, astronauts practice survival in a winter forest and on water

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MOSCOW, August 8 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian astronauts will spend two days in a desert with a minimal ration of drinking water and food. The survival test will be taken near Baikonur.

“Three three-men crews – astronauts and prospective astronauts – will have to live on scanty supplies for two days before rescuers arrive,” Cosmonaut Training Center press secretary Irina Rogova told Itar-Tass.

A few days ago the survival test takers had a theoretical course, and practice started on Tuesday. The astronauts are supposed to leave the landing module unaided, to make a tent from the parachute for protecting themselves from heat and wind and to get in touch with rescuers on the radio. They carry a six-liter keg of drinking water, a small food ration, clothes, a first aid kit, a radio set, flares and tools. The survival kit was designed 47 years ago after Alexei Leonov and Pavel Belyayev spent two days in the Perm taiga, an unplanned landing site, before rescuers arrived on March 19, 1965.

The survival test will begin for astronauts Sergei Prokopyev and Ivan Vagner and prospective astronaut Alexei Khomenchuk on Wednesday. The crew of astronauts Sergei Kud-Sverchkov and Denis Matveyev and prospective astronaut Andrei Babkin will start taking the test on August 10, and the third crew – astronaut Nikolai Tikhonov and two instructors of the Cosmonaut Training Center – will fight for survival on August 12.

The physical condition of the astronauts will be monitored from Baikonur. Apart from desert training, astronauts practice survival in a winter forest and on water.

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