ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano sends his greetings for the 10th anniversary of Europe’s space laboratory Columbus during his winter survival course.
Luca is gearing up for his second mission to the International Space Station in 2019 on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. All astronauts who fly on a Soyuz do a winter survival course in the forests near Star City, Russia.
When a Soyuz spacecraft lands on Earth support teams are usually at hand within minutes to help the astronauts out of the capsule, but there is always the possibility that the spacecraft module lands in a remote, cold area. As part of standard flight safety astronauts learn to survive in harsh climates while waiting for rescue.
For Luca the course is more of a refresher training than learning new skills, he already survived the training in October 2012 as part of his first mission, called Volare, in 2013.
The training course included getting out of the Soyuz unaided, changing from spacesuits into more winter-friendly garments, signalling for help as pictured here, building a shelter out of the spacecraft parachute and wood, building a fire and providing first aid.
The Columbus laboratory ascended to orbit aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA on 7 February 2008. Nestling in the spaceplane’s cargo bay was Columbus.
On 11 February, the crew on the International Space Station captured the new arrival. At that moment, Columbus became Europe’s first permanent human outpost in orbit and Europe became a full partner of the International Space Station.
Columbus houses as many disciplines as possible in a small volume, from astrobiology to solar science through metallurgy and psychology – more than 225 experiments have been carried out during this remarkable decade. Countless papers have been published drawing conclusions from experiments performed in Columbus.
Go here to follow Luca and his adventures in space and on Earth.
More about Columbus here.