Gallery: Cosmonaut Winter Survival Training

Article written: 21 Jan , 2012
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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When cosmonauts and astronauts now return from a long-duration space mission on board the International Space Station, they are always coming home on a Soyuz capsule, landing in northern Kazakhstan. The Kazakh Steppe is known for its bitter winters (I just checked the local weather in Ayagoz, Kazakhstan and there is currently a blizzard going on with heavy snow, high winds and a current temperature of -26 C [-15 F] )

When a Soyuz lands, it usually takes at least an hour for the rescue team to arrive. But a blizzard or other unforeseen problems could leave the crew stranded for longer periods of time. So, cosmonauts and astronauts undergo special survival training, just in case. Here are some images from the latest crew to undergo the training, featuring cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyeva, ESA astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Samantha Cristoforetti. Remember that complicating any return from long-duration space flight is the weakness the space travelers will experience after six months in weightlessness.

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopiev and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti during winter survival training. Credit: GCTC

In addition to the technical knowledge related to the landing capsule, the cosmonauts/astronauts need to practice practical skills like constructing a shelter and building a fire. They have a special emergency kit in the Soyuz which includes weapons, lights, water (6 liters for three people), dried food, first aid kit, tools and equipment that may be useful in extreme conditions, and clothing such as a heat suit, woolen cap, headset, gloves, socks and fur socks.

The Cosmonaut Training Center website says that “to successfully complete the test (training), crews have to show courage, self-discipline, perseverance, and patience.”

Credit: Cosmonaut Training Center

Credit: Cosmonaut Training Center

Credit: Cosmonaut Training Center

Credit: Cosmonaut Training Center

Credit: Cosmonaut Training Center

Credit: Cosmonaut Training Center

Credit: Cosmonaut Training Center

Don’t worry — Samantha Cristoforetti said on Google+ that the can near the fire is water, not gasoline!

Source: Yuri Garagain Cosmonaut Training Center

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6 Responses

  1. Anonymous says

    heh> do your thing guys.

  2. Anonymous says

    Bet they all wish they had a nice shuttle to land in.

  3. Tom Watson says

    planet of the apes anyone..?

  4. Anonymous says

    I don’t think Pesquet will have quite the strength to haul a log like he is in picture six…

  5. Frida Tanticognomi says

    «Don’t worry — Samantha Cristoferri said on Google+ that the can near the fire is water, not gasoline!»

    It’s Samantha Cristoforetti, not Cristoferri. Italian pride!

  6. Anonymous says

    Why bother with that very lame lean-to? The parachute canopies that the capsule floated down on make wonderful Tipi’s. This is what we used when I was a Survival Instructor for the USAF in the late 60’s and early 70’s. In a hostile environment, the first thing you do is secure shelter, second is water, and third is food. Building those lean-to’s is just wasting calories.

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