Every crew has to pass a great number of exams and tests before the space flight. The cosmonauts have to know the spacecraft and ISS systems, foreseen and prevent off-nominal situations. Complex examinational trainings generally enable to assess the level of readiness for the flight. Following the results of these exams the commission makes a decision whether the crew is allowed to the next stage of flight preparations.
The crew started passing their exams on May 6. On May 7 the main crew consisting of Russian cosmonaut Maksim Surayev, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst started their examinational training on Soyuz TMA-M simulator.
After them the back-up crew consisting of Anton Shkaplerov, Samantha Christoforetti and Terry Virts had the same training.
Crew commanders Maksim Surayev and Anton Shkaplerov reported to the examinational commission comprising GCTC, RSC Energia and NASA representative on the readiness for the training. Then they took their examinational cards. Off-nominal situations stated in the cards has to be unknown for the training participants and their task is to find it out and eliminate.
Traditionally before the exams started the cosmonauts paid attention to mass media answering the journalists’ questions about their health and previous training results. Commander Maksim Surayev explained that every crew does its best to complete the tasks properly, show proper actions in case of off-nominal situations and get a high mark. He said a few words about future space flight goals and its busy scheduled stipulating several spacewalks and lots of scientific experiments, besides the cosmonauts have to receive many cargo vehicles during their mission.
Back-up crew commander Anton Shkaplerov told that such exams are never easy even for experienced cosmonauts.
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti added that she feels comfortable working in the crew and likes helping colleagues in solving nominal and off-nominal tasks. She also stated that women cosmonauts have no advantages over men cosmonauts since both have to accomplish the same work.
Upon the completion of trainings commission will sum up the results.