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Training Flow

Practicing with the Hardware
IMAGE: An astronaut trains underwater.
Expedition 3 Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin, left, and Commander Frank Culbertson practice using biomedical equipment at the Bioengineering and Test Support Facility at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.

During your very first training class in Houston, you will learn how to do the things you'll do every day aboard the space station. You'll learn how to look at your daily schedule and read procedures written by people on the ground, which you must complete correctly. You will learn how to use the station's laptop computers and all of their software. You'll also learn how to enter information into the station's Inventory Management System, which is used to keep track of the station's equipment and supplies (how much stuff there is and where it's all stored). There will also be simulations where you will work in a mock-up of the real space station and practice what you have learned so far. Simulations are where you will learn how to live and work in space and where you will practice for emergencies. You will do dozens of simulations during your 18 months of training, both in Russia and the United States.

At the beginning of each new training session, the station training lead and the training team will give you a Crew Training Notebook. This binder contains all the handouts and study aids you will need during that training session.

After your first training session, you and the rest of your crew will go to Russia for about a month. There you will learn about the Russian portions of the space station. You will learn about the system that provides clean air and comfortable temperatures aboard the station -- the Russian Environmental Control and Life Support System. You will also learn how to send commands to the Russian systems using the Command and Data Handling System computers.

IMAGE: Expedition 2 Flight Engineer Susan Helms
Training time divided by subject

After your month in Russia, you will return to Houston for more training on the U.S. portions of the space station. In this part of your training, you will learn about the Caution and Warning system, U.S. Command and Data Handling, Electrical Power System, and Mobile Transporter, which can be used to move the Canadarm2. When you are finished, you will take part in another simulation to make sure you have learned everything.

When you're not in the classroom or the simulator, you may find yourself in a 6-million gallon pool learning how to work outside the space station. You will learn how to do spacewalks, or extravehicular activities (EVAs), at the bottom of the pool in a fullscale model of the real space station. There you will learn how to wear and maintain a spacesuit, how to move when there's no gravity and how to use all the tools you might need in order to fix something outside the space station. If the space shuttle will be delivering new parts to the station while you're there, you may learn how to install those parts while working in the pool.

IMAGE: Expedition 2 Flight Engineer Susan Helms
Expedition 2 Flight Engineer Susan Helms spent two days with her crewmates learning how to survive in an extremely cold environment. If her crew had returned to Earth aboard a Soyuz spacecraft, and if that spacecraft had gone off-course and landed in Siberia, this training could have saved her life.

As the months go by, you will learn about every system on the space station. For some of them, you will become your crew's expert on that system, a specialist. You will also learn how to handle any emergency that may occur and how to fix anything that might break. You will learn how to do experiments for scientists on Earth. You will learn how to take pictures of our planet and do educational demonstrations for schoolchildren.

As you get closer to your flight, you will do simulations with the space shuttle crew that will be taking you to the space station, or in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, if that is how you will be arriving at the station.

Your 18 months of training will include approximately 300 hours learning about the space station's systems, 300 hours learning to do spacewalks, 60 hours of medical training, 150 hours of science experiment training, 150 hours of language training, and 150 hours of robot arm training. Altogether, you will spend almost 1300 hours training for your mission.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 08/07/2003
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