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Training Locations

IMAGE: Expedition 1 Commander Bill Shepherd
Expedition crewmembers in training travel around the world to prepare for their missions long before they begin orbiting it.

Ultimately, every astronaut training for an Expedition mission is planning to fly around the Earth many times, completing an orbit every 90 minutes or so. But before that can happen, he or she must first prepare for the mission by training at several locations around the world.

Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas

The Johnson Space Center, or JSC, in Houston, Texas, is home base for NASA's astronauts and a "home away from home" for visiting cosmonauts and Expedition crewmembers from other countries.

JSC is also the primary training location for Expedition crews. Teams of professional instructors use its classrooms, standalone training facilities, integrated simulation environments and laboratories to help crewmembers to prepare for their missions.

Kennedy Space Center

IMAGE: Expedition 5 Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson checks out the glovebox at KSC.
At the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Expedition Five Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson practices operating the International Space Station's Microgravity Glovebox six months before her mission begins.

Kennedy Space Center, or KSC, is located on Florida's Atlantic Coast. NASA's Space Shuttle launches from KSC carrying crews, Space Station components and supplies. Crewmembers gain hands-on experience with the actual elements before they are launched by visiting KSC's Space Station Processing Facility.

Expedition crews that will be travelling to the Station on the Space Shuttle also visit KSC to train for launch and practice emergency procedures.

Canadian Space Agency
Quebec, Canada

Canada is contributing an essential component of the International Space Station, the Mobile Servicing System, which includes Canadarm2 and the Mobile Base System. Astronauts receive robotics training to prepare them for complex arm operations.

The Virtual Operations Training Environment is located at the Canadian Space Agency's headquarters in Saint-Hubert, Quebec. It provides crewmembers with an immersive virtual-reality environment in which they can watch a simulated arm move in three dimensions and gain a deeper understanding of the Canadarm2's movements relative to external structures on the Station.

Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center
Star City, Russia

IMAGE: Expedition 1 Commander Bill Shepherd in Hydrolab.
Expedition 1 Commander Bill Shepherd practices for a spacewalk in Hydrolab at Star City, Russia.

The Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, located near Moscow, is the primary training facility for Russian elements of the Station. Professional instructors use classrooms, simulators and full-scale mockups provide crewmembers with the vital knowledge they will need to work in the Zvezda Service Module and the Zarya Module.

Hydrolab -- a pool similar to the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at the Johnson Space Center -- offers a realistic training environment for spacewalks performed out of the Russian airlock in Russian spacewalking suits.

Baikonur Cosmodrome
Baikonur, Kazakhstan

Baikonur, Kazakhstan, has been home to Russian space launches since Kazakhstan was a part of the old Soviet Union. The complex of launch pads and support facilities are known cumulatively as the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Expedition crews and taxi crews who will travel to the Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft go to Baikonur for some of their Soyuz training.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 08/14/2003
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