June 9, 2021

Roscosmos cosmonauts and the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center representatives are completing their visit to Baikonur, the main purpose of which was to study the Nauka module. The new craft is being prepared for launch into orbit, and the cosmonauts are preparing to perform tasks related to its operation.

Some members of the Roscosmos Cosmonaut Corps have already had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the module directly at Baikonur. For example, Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov had a number of planned sessions on the Nauka module in the autumn of 2020, and in the spring of 2021, together with their colleague Mark Vande Hei. As the ISS-65 prime crew, they examined the working areas of the module they will need to visit during spacewalk. At the same time, a similar training was held for their backups.

‘This time we needed to take the maximum possible number of cosmonauts to Baikonur and involve them in evaluating the module from the point of view of safety and convenience of staying inside. They take part in the so-called ergonomic examination which is a common practice,’ explained Andrey Simonov, GCTC Department 11 deputy.

The delegation included ten Roscosmos Cosmonaut Corps members, with Alexander Skvortsov and Sergey Prokopyev already been to space. This was the first visit to Baikonur for the cosmonauts enrolled in the Corps in 2018.

‘At the stage of general space training, they got a fairly superficial idea of the design and layout of the vehicle. Here at Baikonur, theoretical classes were organized specifically on the Nauka module. That is, the guys went to the site where it is installed with a clearer understanding of what is outside and inside the module,’ Andrey Simonov explained.

According to him, the engineers and designers listen not only to the experienced cosmonauts, but a fresh look is always important. Proposals received during the Nauka module examination will be taken into account and implemented if technically feasible. The Cosmonaut Corps members’ visit to Baikonur ended on June 4, 2021; with just under one week at the cosmodrome.

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