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Preflight Interview: Sergei Treschev

The International Space Station Expedition Five Crew Interviews with Flight Engineer Sergei Treschev.

Sergei, you're set to begin a four-month-long mission in space; can you give us a summary of the goals of Expedition 5?

There are many numerous tasks of our expedition; I'll try to explain you some of them. Expedition 5 start off where work from STS-111 launch; you know, STS-111 will deliver to ISS MBS, Mobile Base System, MPLM, and some payload for Russian EVA. That's why one of the goal of our expedition will [be] to support installation MBS to ISS, and support robot, robotic support EV crewmembers EVA during we fly. And you know our fly will reach different expedition: for example, the next expedition will [arrive on] STS-112, and 112 will deliver another equipment, very important equipment, S1 truss. That's why we will robotic support to install, to installation S1. And at last STS-113 will deliver another equipment such as P1. And we will support robotics, support installation, P1. And of course, it's as for construction, future construction ISS, but there are numerous task as for different science experiments, maintenance, and some replace equipment.

There is quite a lot for you all to do, and this is your first trip to space. Can you tell me what it was like to have been, when you were given the news that you had been assigned to this crew and would be flying?

Oh, I was very happy and I was very glad; of course before I had some experience: I was participant crew as for expedition to Mir, I was backup crew Mir/Shuttle. It was twenty, [Mir-]25 expedition. And as I believe our work with my is our crew will [be] very interesting and very helpful.

As you mentioned, you've been involved in the Russian space program for some time. Tell me a bit about your own background and how your education and work history led you to being selected to be a cosmonaut.

I finish high school; after high school I graduated to Moscow Power Institute, and afterward I served in army air force as engineer. I had some experience as to airplane and that's why I tried to understand myself in this way. And that's why after service army I go to work Rocket Space Corporation, Energia, and I worked there like engineer I was support some tasks as for prepare cosmonaut. I was participant in different work as for training cosmonaut on board station Mir. And it's very interesting work and especially when you can work in such a field like a test engineer, for example. I was participant in base-on-ground system life support system.

Why then did you, with that experience, did you want to take the step to become a cosmonaut and be one of the people to fly in space?

You know, any boys, any children dream to became pilot. And as for me, I dreamed to became pilot the same but I couldn't. And it's different, different problem, that's right. But…during my life I had very, very much interest about space, about work space and when I was pupil I write down some story about test pilot. And maybe this situation gave me some direction in this way. And at last when I began to work in Russian space corporation I understand that I can to became cosmonaut.

And now, as a cosmonaut, you're part of a three-person crew going to the station. Which means that among the three of you, you must possess all of the talents that would be required to make the mission a success. Tell me, as Flight Engineer, what are your primary responsibilities as a member of this crew?

There are many tasks as for our work on board station. And I have some procedures and program timelines as for our work for CDR, for Commander, for Flight Engineer 1, for Flight Engineer 2. As for me my work will include check normal working different system of course I will perform some science experiments because we have a lot of experiments and each of crew will perform some of them. And I will [be] responsible for right working system basically.

Your mission begins on, as you said, on STS-111 when Ken Cockrell and his shuttle crew deliver you and Valery and Peggy to the station. Along with you and your crewmates, the shuttle is bringing a Multipurpose Logistics Module that's going to be filled with supplies and science equipment. Describe, in general terms, what are some of the things that will be inside Leonardo that are coming up to the station with you.

In general MPLM has a lot of racks, and these racks [are] different kinds. Altogether it's fifteen racks, like EXPRESS racks with payload, and different payload, payload with science experiments. We will have a lot of work as for unload and load MPLM. At first we need transfer from MPLM some racks to the ISS, and from ISS we will transfer some experiments which already ready.

Along with the transfer of the supplies back and forth, you and your crewmates also are scheduled to spend a lot of time doing handover with the Expedition 4 crewmembers. Can you give us a sense of what goes on there-what do you, how does that time better prepare you to take over the station when they leave?

You know, of course, you know I didn't fly yet that's why. I have some, I haven't some experience as to this situation. And I believe that Valery has some experience in this way. But in this case we will have some handover book, and we will follow procedures in this book, as to formal situation. But informal, of course with this tasks, it's very important task because we have some system, for example IMS, Inventory Management System, which show us where is different devices, where is different science equipment etc. But crewmember Expedition 4 knows better and knows more than IMS, and that's why we need to work together not a long time, maybe five, maybe six days. And I believe they show us tell us about nuance, about how different system work, maybe this system has some nuance in, in way it work. And many helpful things.

Also during the docked phase of STS-111 there are three spacewalks scheduled; two of them are aimed at the completion of the delivery of the Mobile Base System, as you mentioned a moment ago. Tell me a little bit about the Mobile Base System--what it does, where it goes, and how it advances the assembly of the station.

At first Mobile Base System, it is a part of the big system. Mobile Base System to install, or install to MT, Mobile Transporter, and Mobile Transporter with MBS can moving along truss. No only MBS-MBS with MT together can moving along truss. And Mobile Base System has four places for installation robot arm, and one place for install different payload for temporary stowage. And, of course when this system will together, and when this system will have for example, robot arm, and we can moving along truss, along whole station, and we can work different places and we can work different tasks and different maintenance.

Tell me about what your role is, as part of the team on orbit, while the spacewalks are happening to install the MBS.

In this case, I cannot say, I cannot say you a lot of because the big job, the big work in this case will perform Valery and Peggy and…as for robot arm support. As for me maybe I will help them.

By the time the shuttle crew takes Yury and Carl and Dan home, you'll be left to settle in to your, whatever will be your normal routine on orbit, although it will be several hundred miles up. Do you have a sense of what a regular day on orbit is going to be like for you?

I think this day will like the day on the simulator-but without instructor and with zero g.

Will it be a routine, day after day, where things will be pretty similar from one day to another?

…because we have, we will have a lot of guests, a lot of expedition like STS-112, 113, and a lot of experiments - science experiments, physical experiments - I don't think that our work, our life will [be] routine.

Let's spend a couple of minutes talking about the science experiments. Give me a sense of the different kinds of science that will be going on.

There are many different kinds of experiments such as technology experiments, biologic experiments, microbiology experiments, physical experiments, medicine experiments and experiments as to Earth observation. I will perform and I am performing already, some experiments on the ground as for medi, for example, medicine experiment. As for technical experiments, I will perform experiments, its name, for example zeolite crystal grow as for American program; as for Russian program plasma crystal. It's very interesting experiments. It's like for I like it. I like it and results of these experiments, it's very important and maybe in the future for example experiments zeolite crystal grow change our world a little. As for using, for example, fuel: zeolite crystal grow, it's very important crystal, it has some property, some chemical property and it can, oh, maybe, he help to keep hydrogen in liquid condition. And in the future maybe, we will use hydrogen in our car.

When you work with the zeolite experiment or the others, what is it that you do-are you simply monitoring the equipment, or are you performing the experiment in some other way?

We…of course we need to control process, but this experiments it has some, has many-no many some-parts. For example, we need to mixed in special tube some component-no some component, two component- because this tube consist of from, will consist of two component, and we need mixed them. Afterward the experiment began performing. And during fly we need to control, to check performing experiments. As for example plasma crystal: we need to perform very similar task like zeolite crystal grow, but in this case we have not big, but bigger cameras in zeolite crystal grow experiment and we have some particulates; very small particulates, and we need-particles, particles-and we have to addition, we have to add some particle inside camera.

Let's talk a little bit about the shuttle visit that you'll receive during the mission. You mentioned STS-112, or assembly mission 9A, which is delivering another segment of the station's truss. Tell me about the S1 truss and the CETA cart; what do they do?

…S1 truss…truss very important part of the whole truss ISS, and…at first task we need [to] connect S1 truss with S0 truss. And in the future on the end truss, we'll have solar battery, and as for CETA cart it's a, some equipment for EVA…it has some places for ORU, and we can moving cart only manually and use this cart during EVA.

You, Valery, and Peggy will have a more active role in spacewalks that are made while there are no shuttle crewmembers around. A couple of spacewalks are scheduled at this point. Describe who does what on the spacewalks during your stage and the tasks that will be done during those EVAs.

…yes after, when…STS-112 went home, we will have some EVA as for Russian program. We will use Russian Orlan suit. And there are some tasks in this way. As for me, Valery and me will perform some task replacement thermal control hardware; this device [is] located on the FGB. And afterward we will move into Service Module and from Service Module, we have to take down some Japanese plate.

And I believe that there's another spacewalk, when Valery and Peggy will go outside. What do you do while on that EVA while they're outside?

Well, yes, Valery and Peggy will perform a, their task is for installation MMOD shield, and as for me, in this case I will perform IV task. And I will help them and I will try to support them if it is necessary.

We've telescoped your four-month mission into a discussion of just a few minutes here, and we've come to near the end of it. In your opinion, by the time you leave ISS, what will have had to have been accomplished for you to consider Expedition 5 to have been a success?

At first, of course, finished our program, finished our science experiments, and to…perform safety of ISS and to prepare ISS for the work to other crew.

You know, we have discussed the fact that the International Space Station is a science laboratory, where you will help do research, as well as a place to develop technology and a place where we learn how people can live in space. I would like to know your opinion: what do you think is the most valuable aspect of the International Space Station?

As to my opinion, the ISS is a place where can to work different people, different nations. That's very nice and it's very important for people. And maybe ISS is the one step for future investigation, future science experiments, and maybe some people can fly into space soon. As for me, it's my work in space.

IMAGE: Expedition Five Flight Engineer Sergei Treschev
Click on the image to hear Expedition Five Flight Engineer Sergei Treschev's greeting in English (522 Kb). Also available in Russian (490 Kb).
Crew Interviews

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 10/28/2002
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