ESA astronaut training is one of the most challenging programmes to follow and it is also very challenging to organise. This is because the decentralised training given by all the international partners participating in the ISS programme demands a high degree of coordination.
Not only the content of the different international training sessions has to be harmonised, but also the teaching approach and training concepts, as well as the multicultural backgrounds of trainees as well as instructors.
Integrated training schedule
All this has to fit into one overall integrated training schedule, which is a challenge of its own – remember that all astronauts and cosmonauts have individually tailored training plans, which means that no two astronauts get exactly the same training at the same time.
If you consider that 30 to 40 astronauts and cosmonauts undergo training in one year at five different sites, you realise that all this calls for a tremendous organisational effort. The ISS partner space agencies have successfully managed the harmonisation of this training for over a decade.
So what do the astronauts have to go through to qualify for a flight to the International Space Station (ISS)?