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SIRIUS crew starts 4-month isolation experiment

The experiment’s scenario will reproduce the basic characteristics of a space flight to the Moon

MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. The international crew of six persons has entered the SIRIUS ground-based experimental compound where it will spend the next 120 days to simulate a flight to the Moon and prepare for future deep space missions, TASS reports from the scene.

Pursuant to the commission’s decision, the crew comprises four representatives of Russia and two representatives of the United States. The commission has approved cosmonaut Yevgeny Tarelkin as the crew commander and Daria Zhidova (Russia) as the flight engineer, Stefania Fedyai (Russia) as the crew doctor, Reinhold Povilaitis (USA), Anastasia Stepanova (Russia) and Allen Mirkadyrov (USA) as test researchers.

"I allow the crew of the SIRIUS-2019 international experiment to start implementing the experiment. I wish you luck," Director of the Institute of Biomedical Problems Oleg Orlov said.

The SIRIUS ground-based experimental compound is located on the territory of the Institute of Biomedical Problems.

"We have the combative mood. Everyone is ready. We are waiting impatiently when the hatches will close and we will start working," Tarelkin said.

Over the four months of the experiment to simulate a flight to the Moon, the crew will have to fly to the Earth’s natural satellite, choose a place for a future lunar base and reach the Moon’s surface. The experiment’s scenario will reproduce the basic characteristics of a space flight to the Moon. Besides, the crew will be performing the programs of researches into physiology and psychology and in other areas. Overall, 81 experiments are planned.

The SIRIUS (Scientific International Research in Unique Terrestrial Station) experiment will simulate a flight to the Moon: the travel to the Earth’s natural satellite and a flight around it to search for a landing place, the landing of crewmembers for operations on the surface, the stay in the Moon’s orbit and the remote control of a lunar rover to prepare a base and return to Earth.

The experiment is being held by the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences jointly with NASA and in cooperation with partners from Germany, France, Italy and other countries. It envisages a series of experiments to prepare for deep space flights.

The first of the series of joint Russian-US SIRIUS experiments was held in November 2017 and lasted 17 days. The crew was tasked to conduct over 60 various experiments, ‘capture’ satellites by a manipulator arm and control a rover on the Moon’s surface. Now a four-month isolation experiment has begun and it will be followed by an eight-month experiment that will give way to a twelve-month research.