How astronauts train for a worst-case spacewalk
Unearthly Trials. How astronauts train
Almost every second man in childhood dreamed of becoming an astronaut and conquering the vast expanses of our galaxy. This little-studied romance has always been particularly attractive, but earning a place among those who go into space is quite difficult. The cosmonaut's profession involves constant stress on the body and extreme tests of strength and endurance. Training plays a critical role in preparing for flight. Even the most athletic person will find it difficult to endure all the trials that astronauts go through every day. But nevertheless, it is possible to get closer to their ideal parameters.
Who is the cosmonaut?
Today, it is not at all necessary to be an exact copy of the legendary Yuri Gagarin. In the Soviet Union, a future cosmonaut had to be a member of a party, have military pilot experience and be no higher than 170 cm. Moreover, the candidate must have had the title of master of sports and had good physical fitness. Requirements have changed a lot since then and have become more loyal. The astronauts also have restrictions on height and weight, but now they have become much higher (up to 190 cm). The State Corporation Roscosmos has posted on its website a list of requirements for those wishing to join the ranks of the conquerors of the universe:
- Russian citizenship (dual citizenship prohibited);
- men and women under 35;
- knowledge of English;
- higher education in engineering, science or flight;
- good physical fitness and no chronic illness;
- stress resistance.
Since 2012, open enrollments have been held in the Russian Federation, which means that not only military pilots and employees of the rocket and space industry have a chance to become an astronaut. Although engineering and flying are still a priority.
General physical training of astronauts
Huge muscles do not play an important role in the physical form of an astronaut. He must be strong, agile and resilient in order to feel comfortable in zero gravity. Therefore, most of the training involves many sports to improve these indicators. Among them are athletics, swimming, parachuting, diving, gymnastics and skiing.
In the gym, astronauts spend two hours three times a week, focusing on multifunctional training. Iron exercises are done primarily with light weight to keep the muscles toned. To receive the highest score for athletic training, an astronaut candidate under the age of 35 must fulfill the following standards:
- 3 km run - no more than 12 minutes 20 seconds
- swim 800m freestyle - no more than 19 minutes
- 5 km ski run - no more than 24 minutes
- pull-ups - 14 times
- running 100 meters - no more than 13.2 sekunda
- Long jump - not less than 2.5 meters
- diving under water - at least 25 meters.
The standards look quite feasible. Perhaps some of you even want to test your strength and go through the first stage of selection. But these trainings are just a small part of the long-term preparation that astronauts have to go through before flying.
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Tests in the isolation chamber
Space fascinates people with its mystery. However, many people forget that this is the most unexplored space, where darkness and frightening silence reign. That is why cosmonauts train in an isolation chamber.
The device allows you to create the most approximate conditions to isolate a person from the outside world and check his psychological state. As part of the general space training, the candidate should spend about three days in it. Of these, 48 hours are in continuous activity, that is, absolutely without sleep. Life in the apparatus is no different from everyday life. The astronauts also continue to work, trying to adapt to their new environment. As psychologists emphasize, even if at first it seems to you that you are livable, patient and socially adapted, two days of forced wakefulness will tear off all the masks.
Simulation of open space
The most interesting part of the cosmonauts' work is the spacewalk. At the same time, she is the most frightening. Exploration in outer space is dangerous for many different reasons. Deep vacuum, extreme temperatures from minus 150 ° C to plus 150 ° C, radiation from the Sun, the likelihood of collision with space debris or micrometeorites. You can thoroughly rehearse the upcoming operations on Earth in the Star City, where the Hydrolaboratory is located.
In a huge pool on a mobile platform, a mock-up of the orbital station module is installed. Of course, movement in the water for any person is quite difficult. Astronauts, however, have to cope with this difficult task even in full uniform, putting on a spacesuit, the average weight of which is about 110 kg. When immersed in the pool, astronauts experience the so-called hydro-weightlessness. A group of divers constantly supervises the training. They help to cope with the weight of the suit and make sure that no one floats to the surface. Of course, such work requires special physicalpreparation.
Trainings of the vestibular apparatus - imitation of overload
The final stage of preparing future cosmonauts for flight is training in a centrifuge.
The main Cosmonaut Training Center has two vehicles at its disposal: TsF-7 and TsF-18. The last centrifuge is capable of picking up an overload capacity of 30 units. This indicator is incompatible with life. Currently, astronauts are training at an overload of 8 units. However, in the Soviet period, the requirements were stricter: the overload reached 12 units. It's hard to even imagine what a person experiences during such activities. During centrifuge training, poorly prepared people can lose not only stomach contents, but also consciousness.
There are several more ways to develop your vestibular apparatus. One of them is the Barani chair. It is a swivel chair on which the astronaut is twisted in one direction or the other. Such methods cannot be compared with roller coasters and amusement parks.
Sports in space
At the space station, astronauts are required to exercise at least two hours a day. An hour - running, another hour - either cycling, or classes on a strength simulator. To practice on the treadmill, you must definitely fix yourself with special straps - otherwise, you will simply touch your legs in the air. Bindings help to get the effect similar to training on Earth.
For training, astronauts in In the American segment, they use a power transformer that is adapted for several types of exercises at once: presses, deadlifts and squats. It is necessary to constantly be in motion, otherwise the muscles will start to deplete.
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Rehabilitationcosmonauts after returning to Earth
Returning to Earth after a long stay in space is a very exciting event for any astronaut. However, it is extremely difficult for them to touch their native grass. In the first hours after landing, astronauts can hardly walk, so there are always doctors with wheelchairs near the spacecraft.
Cosmonauts undergo long-term rehabilitation, gradually returning to normal earthly life. For several months, under the careful supervision of specialists, they restore blood circulation in the muscles, establish the vestibular system.
The dream of becoming an astronaut hovered in the minds of many people, but few succeeded in realizing it. You can try your hand at a few general physical workouts. However, to be a real astronaut, you need to prepare for this from the earliest years.