[FPSPACE] Reuters: First international space crew expect malfunctions

JamesOberg@aol.com JamesOberg@aol.com
Wed, 6 Sep 2000 10:50:44 EDT


First international space crew expect malfunctions          07:49 09-06-00

By Nikolai Pavlov, STAR CITY, Russia, Sept 6 (Reuters) - The first crew set 
to live aboard the International Space Station said on Wednesday they expect 
to tackle malfunctions when they finally switch on the lights in the 
station's living quarters. 

William Shepherd, a U.S. Navy captain who will command the crew, and crewmate 
Sergei Krikalyov said at a training centre in Star City outside Moscow that 
four years of training had prepared them for most eventualities, but anything 
could happen. 

The $60 billion ISS, which is being built jointly by the United States, 
Russia, Europe and Japan, has been described as one of the most ambitious 
engineering projects ever. ``I think it is going to be a difficult flight for 
many reasons...it's not going to be easy because it's the first test flight 
and we are going to activate many systems for the first time,'' a relaxed 
Krikalyov told Reuters. 

The crew, which also includes Yuri Gidzenko, are due to go into orbit for a 
four-month-long mission on October 3 on a Russian Soyuz, which will remain 
there as an emergency escape craft. 

``I think we have to expect some malfunctions. We don't know which 
malfunctions yet, but that's what we were training for and that is what we 
have to be prepared for and that's why I think the flight will not be easy.'' 

READY TO GO A YEAR AGO --  Both cosmonauts agreed that their prolonged 
training period, brought on by difficulties getting the service module or 
living quarters into orbit, had been frustrating but had been the basis for 
thorough preparations. 

``Well, it's been a long time in training. We've been here four years doing 
training for this flight and it seems like a long time. And I think we are 
ready to go,'' Shepherd said. 

``We're finishing up our last training in the simulator here, looking at 
emergency procedures, things that we do in case of severe problems. We've 
been...making good progress.'' 

Krikalyov said he believed that the close-knit team had been ready to go a 
year ago. ``We have been training together for a long time, and we know each 
other well, so I think we can handle all situations,'' he said. 

When complete, supposedly in 2005, the station will loom seven storeys high 
and become one of the brightest objects in the night sky. Seven full-time 
crew members will live and work in a space as big as the cabin of a Boeing 
747 jumbo jet. 

But at least 35 more space missions will be needed to build the station. When 
they arrive the service module will be cramped for the three men, who say 
they do not know what to expect. 

``It's been very difficult both in the United States and Russia to fully 
develop the training as everything had to start pretty much from zero. That's 
what makes it hard to know exactly what to train for because you don't know 
exactly what to expect,'' Shepherd said. 

``I think in all: we've been through a lot and the training folks have done 
their best job. We just have to see what the result is.''