Science and Exploration

European training for Russian cosmonauts

By Marc Boucher
February 6, 2012
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European training for Russian cosmonauts

In the spirit of the international nature of the International Space Station, ESA’s Astronaut Training Division not only welcomes European astronauts: four Russian cosmonauts are also working hard at the European Astronaut Centre this month.
Cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Yuri Malenchenko received training on docking Europe’s ATV-3 cargo vehicle last week. ATV Edoardo Amaldi will dock with the International Space Station in March, bringing supplies and fuel.

ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers is already on the Station and is thoroughly trained for the ATV-3 docking.

However, Andre will leave the Station and return to Earth before ATV’s mission comes to an end. Padalka, the next Station commander, and crewmember Malenchenko, will work together to support the undocking of ATV-3 as well as controlling the vehicle’s departure.

This is the first time they have trained together at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC). However, the ATV training is not completely new to them: they trained for an earlier flight to the Station in 2008.

Their refresher course includes training and simulations on ATV docking. These skills will be required in case of an unscheduled ATV undocking and subsequent redocking.

Both cosmonauts also practised ATV emergency operations in the event of a fire or loss of pressure. Roman Romanenko, another veteran cosmonaut, arrived at EAC this week for a refresher course on Europe’s Columbus research laboratory. During four days of intensive training and simulations, Roman will refresh his knowledge of all Columbus systems and operations.

Roman knows the Columbus module well, as he flew to the Station on Expedition 20/21 with ESA astronaut Frank De Winne.

The training will qualify Roman to live and work in the Columbus module. He will be fully prepared for any emergency situations on his next mission: Expedition 30/31 will be launched in November.

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