Training at the European Astronaut Centre
If a human space mission is to be a success, astronauts and mission teams on the ground have to be familiar with every aspect of spacecraft and space station operations. Training in Europe is based at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany.
The European Astronaut Centre
The EAC prepares European astronauts for many different types of mission. It also enables astronauts from countries such as the USA, Russia, Canada and Japan to learn about the European parts of the International Space Station.
One way in which this is done is by rehearsing in-orbit activities in a large diving pool that contains spacecraft modules.
The EAC also contains full size mock-ups of space modules. These include the ATV supply ferry and the Columbus science lab.
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Modern computer technology also enables astronauts to practise by using a virtual reality system. Wearing a special headset, they can move around or through the space station as if they were really there.
Last update: 2 December 2004
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