ISS-63 mission


ISS crew:

Commander -
Christopher Cassidy
Flight engineers:
Anatoly Ivanishin
Ivan Wagner



Space Odyssey

August 26, 2020

Held in Vladivostok, at the premises of the Russian Navy Pacific Fleet (NPF), were training sessions for the military personnel involved in search and rescue of Soyuz MS crew transportation spacecraft under the ISS program. Taking part in them were specialists from the RSC Energia search and rescue department, Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Rosaviation, Federal Medical and Biological Agency (FMBA) of Russia and Institute for Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

On request from NPF, RSC Energia developed electrically functional mockup of the descent vehicle (DV) Odyssey for practicing maritime search and rescue operations, crew evacuation, towing and hoisting the descent vehicle onto the deck of a sea vessel. The training mockup was built by our company on the basis of the descent vehicle of Soyuz TM-08M, which had flown to the International Space Station in 2013. The commander of that expedition was cosmonaut tester, Hero of Russia Pavel Vladimirovich Vinogradov, who came to Vladivostok as a member of RSC Energia delegation.

Using the training mockup, the rescuers practiced their actions in case the descent vehicle of a Soyuz launched from Baikonur has to make a splashdown. Odyssey is outfitted with the same crew search and rescue equipment as the currently flying spacecraft, which assures a high level of training for the rescuers.

For the purposes of the training exercise the training mockup Odyssey was placed onboard the recue tug Fotyi Krylov, which sailed for the bay of Peter the Great not far from the island of Askold. Also sent to the search area were the rescue ship Igor Belousov and a specialized diving ship VM-20 belonging to the standby forces of the search and rescue detachment of the main base of the NPF.

Odyssey was lifted from an on-the-deck support and, using the onboard cane, was placed on water. A crew of divers attached to the training mockup an inflatable belt NP-2A, which improves the descent vehicle stability on water and makes the crew evacuation safer. After that, the training mockup was moved away from the ship out into the open sea.

According to the scenario of the exercise, a naval aviation aircraft An-26 makes a reconnaissance flight in the Sea of Japan to look for the descent vehicle of a spacecraft, which had to make a splashdown. An emergency beacon is activated onboard the mockup. Cosmonauts send out light-and-smoke signals using hand flares. Having located the Odyssey, the aircraft crew sends its coordinates to the multipurpose rescue vessels, which immediately move to the location.

After that, the rescuers evacuate the spacecraft crew. The crew member who is supposed to be hurt is hoisted onboard a deck-pad helicopter Ka-27PS using a suspension rig, and the rest of the testers are put by the divers on a motor boat that would take them to the ship Igor Belousov. Using rigging equipment, Odyssey is hoisted back onboard the tug Fotyi Krylov. Upon completion of the evacuation, the rescue ships sail for the port of Vladivostok.

Pavel Vladimirovich Vinogradov, who is currently the deputy head of the Spaceflight Center of RSC Energia, pointed out that the exercise managed to practice about ninety percent of interactions between all the services.

There were only so many hours to recue the crew. Activating so many people and machines on a moments notice requires good management arrangements, and thats what we demonstrated, said P.V. Vinogradov. Now we have a clearer idea of what needs to be improved. We need precise knowledge of the atmospheric parameters inside the spacecraft. For that we will need stand-alone equipment recording temperature, so as to avoid a situation where the crew might faint. In addition to this, we need to equip the DV with radio beacons, because an emergency beacon going off on the air sounds like a call to all hands on deck, we need a separate frequency for training sessions. In the future well need to practice one more option, where the descent vehicle will be hoisted onboard with the crew inside. This time the rescuers successfully completed their missions. The training mockup, prepared by a team of specialists from RSC Energia headed by the search and rescue department manager I.V.Terekhov, also performed flawlessly.

Its been more than six years since the last such rescue exercise in the Pacific. All the participants in the maritime exercise agreed on one thing: to keep the search and rescue forces ready, training sessions need to be held on a regular basis. Tentatively, the next operation to rescue Odyssey is scheduled for March of the next year. According to specialists, the Far East is a very challenging region. This time, in spite of zero wind, the waves were as high as two and a half meters. And the low cloud cover foiled the plans for the parachute group to take part in the exercise. In the fall and spring seasons the weather conditions in the Pacific get even worse, and that is why the exercise needs to be repeated during a colder season.

The Pacific area takes on a special significance in view of the upcoming launches from Vostochnyi launch site, where most of the downrange flight path will go above that particular patch of water. A video report Space Odyssey in the Eastern Sea





October 14, 2020
The launch of LV Soyuz-2.1a with SC Soyuz MS-17 is planned
July 23, 2020
LV Soyuz-2.1a with SC Progress MS-15 is launched



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