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. |
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.
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."