STAR CITY (Moscow Region), November 27 (Itar-Tass) — The main and backup crews of the next expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) started the examination - a comprehensive two-day exam training at the Cosmonaut Training Centre (CTC).
The first to begin the examination on the Soyuz TMA spaceship integrated simulator was the backup crew comprising Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg. A few minutes after them, members of the main crew comprising Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn started the examination on the model of the Russian segment of the ISS. On Wednesday, the crews will swap the exam places.
Before the beginning of the training, the commanders of the main and backup crews in the presence of the interdepartmental commission were offered to pick one of several examination cards. The card contains only one task. During the training the crews are to liquidate emergency situations that may occur during space flight. These situations will be offered in stages by the CTC instructors depending on the number of the card picked by the crew.
The astronauts are given one workday for the fulfilment of the examination tasks. After the examination the commission will assess the crew’s performance on a five-point scale. They will take into account the style of the crew work, its accuracy and improvisation. The launch of the Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft that will take to the ISS the new expedition crew is scheduled for December 19.
Before entering the Soyuz ship simulator the backup crew answered questions from journalists. Yurchikhin said that the back-up crew’s preparation for the flight is no different from the main crew’s training. “We also have to fly, but in six months. In this sense the work of the back-up crew is no different from that of the main crew,” the Russian cosmonaut said. He added that the international crew uses the mixed Russian-English language. “In order to communicate, we use ‘Renglish’ when speaking both Russian and English words,” said Yurchikhin who has performed three orbital flights.
He also said that the preparation for each flight is different from previous training sessions, as the Russian spacecraft Soyuz is constantly being upgraded. “New things appear, each ship is upgraded, so something new is added in the training process, but the responsibility remains the same,” Yurchikhin said.
In turn, ESA astronaut Parmitano thanked his Russian counterpart for help in the preparation. “All I know about the ship I know thanks to Fyodor. He is a very experienced, very good leader,” said the European astronaut. “We have a very good crew,” Yurchikhin replied.
Before entering the simulator of the Russian segment of the ISS, Russian cosmonaut Romanenko who in the course of the six-month expedition will have to perform a spacewalk, said that during the work on the station’s exterior his task will be to remove samples of the placed there materials, which have been exposed in outer space for a long time.
“All spacewalks include works on placing or removing samples of scientific experiments on the station’s exterior and installing some additional devices. During the spacewalk I will have to remove the experiment results that have for a long time been staying on the ISS exterior,” the cosmonaut said. He also noted that while he was preparing for the six-month flight into orbit he was not thinking about a year-long flight. “Today we are preparing for a six-month flight, I have not yet thought about a year-long flight. Maybe, we’ll see,” the cosmonaut said.
On Monday, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) and NASA approved the crewmembers of a year-long expedition, which will fly to the ISS in 2015.
“We assess the crews’ performance as good, everything in their training is going according to plan,” chief of the Cosmonaut Training Centre Sergei Krikalev said. He noted that the Soyuz spacecraft and ISS simulators rather well correspond to their real counterparts. “This is especially true concerning the Soyuz ship, which 100 percent matches the real ship,” the CTC head said. He added that the main and backup crews would be training for the whole workday during which they will fulfil a number of tasks wet by the instructors.