New ISS crew sits exams before space expedition

It is test time for the crew who are lining up for the next mission to the International Space Station. If the spacemen pass the necessary medical tests and training, they should be ready for launch in October.

Russian cosmonauts Aleksandr Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and their back up crew will take part in a complex training session on mockups of the Russian segment of the ISS and also Soyuz spacecraft.

During the exam, cosmonauts will have to perform different test tasks. According to deputy head of the cosmonaut training center Yury Gidzenko, they will be asked to tackle different emergency situations.

“We have 50 years of cosmonaut training experience and we know what extraordinary situations may occur. We assign 50 of them at the exam,” he said.

Cosmonauts will receive grades for their work. Following the exam, a special commission will name the main and back up teams. Crews will then head to Baikonur space center where they will try on their space suits.

On their mission the crew will perform a number of assignments. They will test a new Soyuz spacecraft with digital system of controls and fulfill their scientific program when at the station.

“For the Russian section the main areas are biology, medicine, geophysics, and we will continue the distant monitoring of the Earth. We will carry out 41 experiments. That is hundreds of sessions, so it is a pretty packed program,” said Aleksandr Kaleri.

The crew is scheduled to take off to space on October 8 and their expedition will last for six months.