Next ISS crew put to the test ahead of mission

The next crew hoping to travel to the International Space Station has begun a two-day exam at Russia's space capital Star City, to get the go-ahead for the mission.

­Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, NASA astronaut Michael Fossum and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa will be put into simulated crisis situations on board scale mockups of the ISS and a digital series spaceship, Souyz TMA-2M.

During the exam, the cosmonauts will also perform their usual duties on board the mockups and even conduct sample scientific experiments.

A panel of instructors will then grade them according to their performance and, if everything goes to plan, certify them for the mission.

“The crew is well-prepared and experienced: the two [Volkov and Fossum] have already flown to the ISS. Besides, me and Volkov have trained together for some time and I have confidence in him,” said head of the Cosmonaut’s Training Center Sergey Krikalyov.

Krikalyov added that Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa will go into space for the first time, but is also a good professional.

The main trait of the new flight to the ISS, scheduled for June 8, is that it will be conducted on a digitalized spacecraft. In order to prepare the crew better, all the cosmonauts had earlier been trained as a backup team for one of the previous crews that had successfully concluded the first flight on the Souyz TMA-M spaceship in the fall.

The new crew will stay at the ISS for six months, joining three other astronauts who have been on board since April. Docking with the station is expected to take place on June 10.

For more, watch RT's report from the Star City