• Question: Sending someone into space is a big project. How do you train your astronauts to go into space and is it hard.?Explain why!

    Asked by Suvetha to Tom, Jon, COLFlight, Beth, Anne on 4 Oct 2015. This question was also asked by harry, Ells Bells, Bobilicous193, 812trn28, Jobalob123, itssimplyjustme, 934trn27, Gravity Girl.
    • Photo: Columbus Flight Directors

      Columbus Flight Directors answered on 4 Oct 2015:

      There would be so many things to learn about the ISS, that it’s impossible to train the astronauts on everything they need to know!

      They usually train for at least 4-5 years before going to space and the training mostly concentrates on the basics things that they have to do every day and on the things that they would have to do in an emergency situation. In certain situations, if they wouldn’t immediately know what to do by heart, their life could be in danger!

      The training is done by making them do the same things they will do in space: we have mockups of the ISS on Earth which look exactly like the ISS in orbit. The astronauts go in there and do exactly the same things they would do in the same situation in space. The best way to remember something is to do it with your own hands!

      They also train on all the experiments they will have to do. But there are so many things to learn and to remember, that we also give them traininig material when they are already in space so that they can study again and refresh their memory.
      And then from the mission control centre we always follow their activities and we are ready to help them in case they have some problem or they don’t remember something!

    • Photo: Beth Healey

      Beth Healey answered on 8 Oct 2015:

      I think Sergio has pretty much covered this one!

      One interesting part of their training which I didn’t know about before is the Human Behavior & Performance training which helps train them to work effectively as a team. They are living together for long periods of time in close proximity, different nationalities (with different first languages!) in an isolated environment which can be a challenge at times.

      In this respect Concordia is very similar to the ISS. Therefore we also had this training with the team at the European Astronaut Center before leaving. From this I learn’t lot’s of really useful things which have helped me here.

      For some more general information about Astronaut training on the ESA website you may want to take a look at these links: