In less than three years, Luca has travelled between all five international partners’ training sites, gaining the knowledge and skills required for his mission. His tailored training has taken him to Houston, USA, Star City near Moscow, Russia, Tsukuba near Tokyo, Japan, Montreal, Canada, and the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.
Critical tasks are trained over and over. As Soyuz flight engineer, Luca requires a great amount of ‘flying hours’ in the Russian spacecraft simulator, so he trained until he felt at home in the cockpit and can operate Soyuz flawlessly in any situation. During simulations, Luca had his hands at the controls of the spacecraft and wore the Russian Sokol flight suit.
Luca has been taught Space Station systems in full-size mockups, where he familiarised himself with the Station and learnt how everything works. He is trained in all systems and experiment operations scheduled for his mission. He has spent hours getting to know every corner of Europe’s Columbus laboratory, where most of the experiments in which he participates in take place.
Dressed in a spacesuit, Luca also trained to perform spacewalks in one of the largest swimming pools in the world on realistic mockups of the Space Station.