August 31, 2020
Categories: GCTC, ISS, Roscosmos, Russia, Soyuz, Space
Training in the TBK-50 pressure chamber allows cosmonauts to develop the skill of assessing the fit of a spacesuit, evaluate the work of the thermal control system under different physical loads, and undergo psychological adaptation to the forthcoming work in outer space. For operators, this is a unique opportunity, being on Earth, to gain experience in a spacesuit that fully matches the flight suit – exactly the same as on board the International Space Station.
For cosmonauts, training in the TBK-50 makes it possible to work with the Orlan autonomous life support system in conditions of low pressure, to assess the physiological and hygienic conditions inside a regular flight suit. The pressure chamber TBK-50 allows you to obtain a deep vacuum – up to 2 * 10−2 mm Hg. Art., which corresponds to an altitude of 70,000 m. Thanks to these conditions, it becomes possible to operate the heat exchanger-sublimator of the spacesuit – a device that is responsible for thermoregulation inside the spacesuit during extravehicular activities (releases excess heat into the external environment).
As part of the training, members of the ISS-64 crew, Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov performed two exercises. The first exercise took place at atmospheric pressure in a pressure chamber and included a final examination of the spacesuit, entering the spacesuit, and evaluating the fit of the spacesuit by height. The second exercise took place after lowering the pressure in the pressure chamber to 0.04–0.02 mm Hg. and consisted of performing individual operations of the sluice cyclogram, turning on and off the heat exchanger-sublimator, controlling the thermal control system in a spacesuit when performing a load experiment.
Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov performed the movement at first with a lower load at a low speed. Then – at a fast pace and with greater energy consumption. Astronauts need to learn how to properly regulate the temperature in a spacesuit depending on the severity of the load. The Orlan-MKS spacesuit, currently used for spacewalk, is equipped with an automatic thermal control system, but in the event of a failure, the operator must be ready to operate with manual temperature control.
During the training, Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov worked out separate operations of the cyclogram of forward and reverse sluicing in accordance with the onboard documentation. Cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko, Andrey Fedyaev, Dmitry Petelin and Sergey Korsakov also passed tests in the pressure chamber TBK-50.
The pressure chamber complex TBK-50 is located at the testing base of the Research and Production Enterprise “Zvezda” in Tomilino, Moscow Region. Training in TBK-50 is an obligatory stage in the training of cosmonauts in the discipline “Spacesuit for spacewalk and a complex of airlock equipment.” Training in the pressure chamber takes place under the guidance of specialists from the Research and Production Enterprise “Zvezda” and the Cosmonaut Training Center. The CPC instructor is responsible for the methodological support of the training. The technical manager from the SPE “Zvezda” ensures the preparation of the pressure chamber complex and space suits for training, as well as the creation of the necessary conditions for work and the safety of the training participants. The experiment is being conducted by a physiologist at the Zvezda Research and Production Enterprise.
Photo credit: GCTC
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