As everybody of you maybe already knows, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano that together with Samantha Cristoforetti is part of the last ESA astronaut class (see our post about Italian Astronauts) has been assigned for a 6 months mission on board ISS that will take place from May to November 2013, as member of Expedition 36. Also Samantha has been already assigned for a six months mission that will take place from November 2014 to May 2015 with the Expedition 42.
The mission training for Luca started already some months ago in NASA and in Russia, and during the week from May 28th to June 1st 2012 Luca e his Commander Fiodor Yurchickhin have been at EAC for their first ATV training week. For both of them it was not the first time they met the “ATV world”. In fact Fiodor did already the ATV training before the ATV1 mission, in 2006, when he was part of Expedition 15 together with Oleg Kotov.
Luca (together with his crewmates, ESA Astronaut Candidates – ASCANS) got already an introduction to ATV in 2010 during their Basic Training. In this picture for example we can see Samantha together with Alexander Gerst and Andreas Morgensen during their ATV Ingress lesson.
During the last training week Luca e Fiodor “refreshed” their knowledge and skills related to ATV operations. In particular they exercised the crew monitoring operations required during ATV rendez-vous and docking, both from the theoretical point of view and from the practical one, with dedicated simulations where the instructor proposes to the crew different scenarios, both nominal and off nominal, of ATV rendez-vous and docking, using the ATV simulator available at EAC. The crew needs to recognize the off nominal situations and react according to the procedures.
As far as the ATV Attached Phase operations, Fiodor and Luca followed the ATV Ingress lesson (including hatch opening, air analysis and installation of on board equipment), the Maintenance lesson (regarding the Removal & Replace procedures used to substitute failed equipment on board), the lesson dedicated to Off Nominal Procedures and the Emergency Procedure lesson.
During this last lesson the Emergency Procedures to be used on board in case of fire or depressurization (eg. caused by a meteoroid impact) when ATV is the affected module have been revised and discussed with the crew. On top of that the crew performed an Emergency Simulation dedicated to exercise those two scenarios where they had to react to the emergency alarm using the correct procedures.
The training week was very satisfactory and now we wait Fiodor and Luca at EAC for the second part of ATV training that will take place the last week of June 2012. This second part will be again dedicated to simulations related to rendez-vous and docking and attached phase operations and on top of that the focus will be also on the ATV Departure procedures.
But we will report to you in detail about that in our next post.