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Black Sea Survival Training
The first astronauts to live aboard the International Space Station are now training for their 2000 mission. Included in the training schedule is some time at sea, learning how to deal with the possibility of a water landing in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. In the photo at right are, from left, Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev, International Space Station Commander Bill Shepherd, and Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko.

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Spacebound crews in training don't only learn how to handle normal operations; they also learn how to deal with emergencies and contingency plans in case something goes wrong. A Soyuz water landing comes under the latter category. Soyuz spacecraft normally land on dry ground, but in case an emergency forces a water landing, Soyuz crews are trained for this unique situation.

The first crew will launch aboard a Russian Soyuz for a four-month tour of duty aboard the International Space Station, and it is scheduled to return to Earth on the space shuttle. While in residence, their Soyuz will be docked to the station so it can serve as a lifeboat if the crew needs to leave quickly. Thus, part of the crew's training regimen includes the procedures for water rescue.

Mike Foale
Mike Foale
Prior to his mission to the Russian Space Station Mir, U.S. Astronaut Mike Foale performed similar training in Russia's Black Sea. He wrote about his adventure in the communique, Black Sea Training. "Jumping out," Foale says, "is the key to the exercise. The capsule does not float level, and there is great danger of the first person rocking the capsule, so that water comes in through the top and sinks the others. We were told to simply fall, and not push off in any way with our legs."


Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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