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Basic Training Report, February 2000

The topics of this month are training in Europe and EVA training conduced at Tsukuba Space Center.

Training at the European Space Agency
The Japanese ASCANs received lectures for about a week at the European Space Agency (ESA), together with two ESA ASCANs. The purpose of the training was to familiarize the ASCANs with ESA, ESA's participation and contribution to the ISS Program, and Columbus Module and experiment racks.

They received a familiarization lecture on ESA at the European Astronauts Center (EAC) in Germany and took a facility tour of their training facilities. They also had lectures on the outline of the Columbus module (COF) and experiment racks that are being developed by ESA for the ISS. At the European Space Technology Center (ESTEC) they took a look at the facility for satellite testing and assembly, and received lectures on ESA's ISS utilization concept. After they finished the training in Europe, they received a certificate from ESA.
lecture at EAC
Columbus trainer (ESTEC)
Receiving training certificate

Extravehicular Activities (EVA) training
After returning from Europe, the ASCAN's participated in EVA training in the weightless environment test building at Tsukuba Space Center. This facility is equipped with a 16m-diameter, and 10.5m-depth water pool that simulates a microgravity environment by utilizing buoyancy. The training purpose was to acquire basic skills necessary for EVAs for ISS and equipment exchange activities conducted on the Exposed Facility of the Japanese Experiment Module, Kibo.

The ASCANs had lectures on the history of EVA, space suits, EVA tools, the microgravity environment test facility, diving physiology and summary of underwater space suits last year. During this training, they entered the water in space suits and performed translation, EVA tools operation, PFR* ingress and egress, and part of the EVA activities needed for the assembly of Kibo. Japanese astronauts Mr. Doi and Mr. Noguchi, who happened to be visiting Japan, watched this training and gave advice to the ASCANs.

This training is conducted in underwater space suits simulating the conditions of space.It is difficult to move in the space suits during this training, which continues up to three hours. During EVA, astronauts need to move by their hands using hand rails attached to the ISS. Since this was their first EVA training, even translation seemed to be very hard at the beginning, but they quickly learned how to move underwater in the space suits and were soon performing smoothly.

*PFRFPortable Foot Restraint
Donning the underwater space suites
Entering the water on the elevator
EVA training
EVA training
Along with the ASCANs, support divers also dive and help adjust the buoyancy of the underwater space suit, prevent the cables and hoses from becoming twisted, prepare and manage the EVA tools, and take photographs and videos.

The next basic training report will be issued in early April.

Last Updated : March 23, 2000

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