One of the most time-consuming parts in my schedule are the ‘moving tasks’. I feel like we are moving house when I unpack the European ferry ATV or prepare equipment for the Dragon and HTV ferries that will arrive soon. These tasks are open ended and spread over many days. Each day I have a few hours of work scheduled for this activity. I run the risk of wanting to finish the task in one go and working too long. I can send a few personal objects back to
We are preparing for the arrival of our colleagues Joe Acaba, Sergi Revin and Gennady Padalka whom I flew with in 2004. We retrieved some clothes from the Progress and prepared the sleeping cabin. Saturday we talked to Joe. He is in quarantine at the launch facility Baikonur getting ready for tomorrow’s launch. It was good to speak to him.
Time flies! My own return is in one-and-a-half months and the first preparations for my return flight are already planned in my schedule. We tested the Soyuz seats to see if they still fit.
Where is the leak?
Another exercise is the ‘depressurisation drill’. We simulated a leak in the Space Station. We had to find the leak while talking to ground control. First we checked the Soyuz. If something is wrong with the Soyuz we might have to abandon ship and return to Earth immediately. If the leak is not in the Soyuz we proceed to close all the modules one-by-one while calculating how much time we have left before air pressure is too low and we have to leave. We continue until we find the problem. In this case the leak was in the FGB, better known as Zarya, the Russian storage module.
Many things become ‘normal’ up here, a daily routine that does not require much thought. You do not realise that behind the thin aluminium there is no air. Exercises such as these are a good way to stay alert of the risks of a long stay space and, in case of emergency, to react adequately.