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Samantha Cristoforetti
Works at European Space Agency
Attended Technical University of Munich
Lives in Cologne, Germany
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L-214: Logbook

Maybe you remember that last December Anton and I went to Energia to do the acceptance verification of the Soyuz that will bring Max, Reid and my fellow Shenanigan Alex to space end of May. As I wrote back then, it's quite a rare treat for non Russians to be able to go. Well, it happened again! 

Anton, Terry and myself we got to go as a crew this morning to the acceptance verification of our own Soyuz! Now that hasn't happened in years, we've been told. I'll let you read about the acceptance verification in the L-358 logbook:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/7ojGAo3nd9F

But let me tell you, even if the task was the same, it was a very different feeling to be inside our own spaceship. How you can instantly be in love with a collection of metal, hoses and cables! She's just a beauty.

In the afternoon, we had a fire sim with Terry and Anton in preparation for the upcoming Soyuz exam. A fire scenario is one of the most rushed and complex, so we thought it was a good idea to practice it again. You can read more about fire on the Soyuz in this previous logbook:
https://plus.google.com/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/UJM5LmM2ka9

We also got all kinds of small and big malfunction making our life hard, but hey... we can take it by now. As a crew we're as prepared as we'll be!


Photo: our instructor Dima at the control panel as our descent module simulator starts filling with smoke.


#SamLogbook  #Futura

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook/

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora/

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha/ 
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Only a dedicated aviator and astronauts can fall in love with a flying piece of metal. Congrats, it's yours! ;-) 
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L-220: Logbook

Last manual docking training sessions these days before the upcoming exam. With my instructor, Sasha, we've been focusing on the most tricky scenarios to make sure I'm ready. So, what makes a scenario more difficult than others?

The type of failure, for example: a "simple"  Kurs malfuction, meaning that the Soyuz can't orient itself to Station any more, or rather a full computer failure? With a functioning computer we can turn on a function that compensates for the rotation of the ISS. When the Station is in its standard attitude with the stack of pressurized modules oriented along the velocity vector, it rotates about 4 degrees per minute as it tracks along the orbit. With the compensation function turned on, the computer automatically fires the thrusters to match that rotation, so that to us the ISS looks as though it was inertially stabilized. 

If the computer fails, however, we need to constantly correct to keep the target aligned as we approach. The Service Module and MRM1 docking ports are especially tricky, because the targets are oriented in such a way that rotation occurs in two channels.

Night approaches are also a little bit more difficult. If we're about to enter eclipse, we station-keep at a distance of about 70 meters and turn on the Soyuz light. At that point we also have to remove a screen we have on our periscope view during illumination, that protects us from being blinded by excessive light. Once that screen is removed, more light comes through and we're able to see ISS with the rather faint illumination from our Soyuz light, but it's a bit more uncomfortable to fly the approach. For one thing, without the extra screen you need to have your eyes perfectly aligned at the right distance to see the image: if you move your head a bit, you immediately loose it. Also, as you come in closer for final approach and docking, the light does become somewhat dazing again. 

So these are the scenarios Sasha and I have been focusing on. You can see us in the picture together before the sim today. Sasha wants to become a cosmonaut (she'd be a second generation). If you ask me, I'd bet my money that she will make it.

If you celebrate Easter this weekend, happy Easter!


#SamLogbook  #Futura

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook/

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora/

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha/ 
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Interesting Reading, how to dock a Soyuz. like to read about how these technical aspects of space vehicles are done
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L-222: Logbook

Anton and I both passed our manual reentry exam in the centrifuge today and are now officially qualified to fly the Soyuz reentry manually as backup crew of Expedition 40, launching in May.

In fact, this is the first of a series of qualification exams we'll have to pass between now and early May. So, first one done!

I did get one profile with a pretty high overshoot, in which I had to "fly the centrifuge" up to 5Gs. I had flown an 8G-run before, but it is indeed a bit different when you're trying to fly your trajectory and do your reporting to the ground.

Was fun! I'll do it again in a few months as prime crew.


#SamLogbook  #Futura

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di  +AstronautiNEWS qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook/

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora/

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par  +Anne Cpamoa  ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha/ 
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G Maya
 
+Samantha Cristoforetti Thank you. Be safe coming back home!
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L-224: Logbook

When you prepare for a flight on the Soyuz, you first learn about all the on-board systems one by one: you spend a lot of time in the classroom learning the theory and occasionally you get some time in the simulator, specifically dedicated to the one system you're studying. Once you've passed the exams on all the systems, you graduate to the complex simulator sessions that I've written about multiple times and in which you integrate all your knowledge of the separate systems into the actual flight operations.

Today Anton and I exceptionally reverted back to a single-topic practical training session, learning about new procedures to be applied in case of a computer failure just after undocking.

See, our Soyuz will be docked to the MRM-1 module, just like one you see in this beautiful image by the Expedition 38 crew. Like the photo shows, in the standard ISS attitude the MRM-1 points nadir, towards Earth. Typically, when a vehicle undocks the Station it rotated 90° so that the docking port faces aft - that makes if easier from an orbital mechanics point of view, because the simple impulse given by the spring-loaded pushers in the aft direction is enough to guarantee that there will be no collision, even if the Soyuz was unable to perform the separation burns. 

However, it would be really nice to be able to leave the Station in its nominal attitude: it takes fuel to rotate it and the mechanical loads can cause fatigue on the structure, which affects the Station's lifetime. 

If the docking port is nadir, though, proper separation burns must be performed to ensure safety. That's why we now have new procedures in development that allow the crew to give the burns manually, should the computer fail before completing them. 

Was fun to try something new!


Photo: ISS Expedition 38

#SamLogbook  #Futura

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook/

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora/

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha/
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32 comments
 
BEWARE;
I'd be very careful on that amazing Russian Soyuz space center as,  it is probably littered with NSA Bugs.
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L-228: Logbook

A case of low pressure today!

I went to the facilities of the company Svesda (Звезда), which manufactures our Sokol pressure suits and our seat liners.  As you might remember, my personal custom-made Sokol suit, sequential number 422, has been ready for a while. Last February I wore it for two hours with a 0,4 atm of overpressure to make sure it fit properly in an inflated state. If you missed it, that story is in Logbook L-280: https://plus.google.com/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/UrBrkmrAa4V

Today I tested the nominal functions of my Sokol in the vacuum chamber, where I spent a couple of hours lying in a Soyuz-type seat and in my custom-fit seat liner. First we leak-checked the suit, just like we'll do on the launch pad before the start: I manually closed the blue regulator valve and verified that the nominal overpressure was reached within a specified time limit. Then I reopened the regulator and put it back to the nominal setting of 0,4: should the pressure around me drops below 0,4 atm (and obviously that's the plan of the day), the regulator maintains the internal pressure constant at that value.

After a successful leak check, the chamber door was closed and we started the exercise. First the pressure was lowered to 5 km. It might be confusing to use km as a unit when we're actually talking about pressure, but it's pretty typical in a hypobaric chamber. The pressure is referred to the standard Earth atmosphere: when we say that we are 5 km, we mean that the pressure in the chamber is equivalent to what you would have on Earth at 5 km altitude (which is about half of the pressure at sea level).

At 5 km we stopped momentarily, the ventilation was interrupted and the supply of pure oxygen was turned on instead. That's a much smaller flow - just like it would be in the Soyuz - and from this point on it started to get a bit warmer inside the suit, as we resumed our "climb" to higher altitudes and lower pressures. At 7km I felt the suit starting to inflate and the needle of the gauge showing the suit's overpressure starting to move from the zero position: the regulator had kicked in, preventing the internal pressure from dropping below 0,4 atm.

Eventually we arrived at 30 km, where the pressure is about 1/100 of the sea level value - for all practical purposes today: vacuum. At that point the suit, still at constant internal pressure, was quite inflated and very rigid. Would be quite a challenge to operate in this state, but hey... I'm certainly not complaining. On a really bad day, it might save my life - just like it protected me from vacuum today!

Photo: Yuri P. Kargapolov


#SamLogbook   #Futura

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook/

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora/

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha/ 
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Stefano Bordignon's profile photoEuropean Space Agency, ESA's profile photoGiovanni Cozzolongo's profile photoSPACE & EARTH's profile photo
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Grande samanta sei l idolo della mia piccola sara ha sei anni sei il suo mito vai samanta alla grande

 ·  Translate
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L-215: Logbook

A day in the classroom today. Quite typical in the first year or so of the training flow, but pretty unusual these days, closer to flight. However, it does happen.

In the morning we spent 4 hours preparing for a routine ops sim in the Russian segment mockup on Friday. Anton is of course our resident expert on the Russian segment: he has specialist-level training on all the Russian modules. Terry and I only have user-level training, quite basic. We know how to use the toilet, get water, prepare food, use the communication panels; we know how to act in case of an emergency, we're familiar with lights, electrical outlets, safety equipment and we have basic familiarity with the Russian control laptops. We can do simple routine maintenance tasks, like changing filter or replacing a full urine container. Beyond that, it's really up to our Russian crewmates. Roles are reversed of course in the US, European and Japanese modules of the Station.

In our routine ops sim on Friday we'll have our day planned according to a Russian daily scheduling radiogram, called Form 24.  I am scheduled to replace filters, simulate using the toilet, get water samples, rehydrate meal pouches, heat food cans, have a HAM radio contact, change the solid waste container in the toilet, photo- and videodocument some activities and unstow some Progress cargo, updating the Inventory Management System. Most likely we'll also have malfunctions and one emergency scenario thrown in. 

In today's prep brief the room was full of people, all the specialists for the different systems. One after the other, they all briefed us on the tasks concerning their area of expertise. In the picture, Terry and I are getting a review of the camera. 

More classroom in the afternoon: a brief for our Soyuz sim tomorrow and prep for our upcoming exam on the content of Exp. 40/41, of which we are of course the backups.


#SamLogbook  #Futura

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS   qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook/

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora/

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par  +Anne Cpamoa  ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha/ 
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Samantha Cristoforetti's profile photoian bennett's profile photoStefano Bordignon's profile photofrancisco martinez's profile photo
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Grazie Samantha,
perdonami, ma non sapevo il Tuo ruolo,
se non vi è un segreto professionale o di missione, quale sarà il tema della missione spaziale?
 ·  Translate
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L-216: Logbook

Yesterday Anton, Terry and I followed the prime crew, due to launch in May, to Mission Control Center - Moscow (MCC-M) for several hours of briefs concerning the content of their flight. As the backup crew, we need to have the same awareness, just in case.

Briefs covered everything, from the Sun angle expected at the time of docking to any abnormal behavior currently observed on the Russian segment of the Space Station. The latter is especially relevant for our Russian crewmates, of course, since it's mainly up to them to take care of the Russian modules. I had not been at MCC-M, or ЦУП, since a visit with the other Shenanigans during basic training in 2010. Time flies!

Talking about mission content, we'll have a theoretical exam next week, both about the Soyuz flight and the increment time on ISS. Today we had a preparatory session with our Soyuz instructor, in which we went over the different nominal and off-nominal profiles, as well as common crew actions. 

We practiced answering questions like: in any given day, on what orbits is it possible to land in the nominal area in Kazakshan? (Answer: on the 16h, 1st, 2nd and 3rd). 
In what orientation are the burns after insertion given? (Answer: the first two simply "forward", the other two with a rotation calculated by the computer). 
What is the crew expected to report about at the beginning of the 20-min com pass during the second orbit after injection? (Answer: leak checks, first two burns, any anomalies, readiness to perform test of manual controls). And so on, you get the idea. 

I also had just now a short class on the body mass measurement system, the answer (or one of the answers) to the question: how do you weigh yourself in space? You can see the ground model of the system in the picture. In this video NASA astronaut Jeff Williams explains how it works:
Mass Measurement


#SamLogbook  #Futura

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di  +AstronautiNEWS  qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook/

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora/

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par  +Anne Cpamoa  ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha/ 
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Ricardo Daniel González's profile photoStefano Bordignon's profile photoAlvaro Pandolpho's profile photofrancisco martinez's profile photo
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all the best samantha
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Very interesting read by +European Space Agency, ESA on 3D printing.
 
Ten ways 3D printing could change space - now and in the future!

#3dprinting  
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Josep Mateu Huguet's profile photoalberto piechele's profile photoMassimo Luciani's profile photoMarianela Chouri's profile photo
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Penso che si diffonderanno sempre più e tra qualche anno saranno accessibili a tutti, perchè, suppongo, adesso dovrebbero costare parecchio!
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L-223: Logbook

Today I took a ride on the impressive 18-meter-arm Star City centrifuge.

As a preparation for the upcoming manual reentry exam, I had a dry-run today in which we went through a typical exam session: three reentry scenarios with the running centrifuge with two static scenarios to rest in between.

I've talked a little bit here about how manual reentry works:
https://plus.google.com/+SamanthaCristoforetti/posts/QKopRJB2MJu

The goal is to land within 10 km from the nominal touchdown point - the one that the computer-controlled reentry would fly us to, if it worked. But it's also important to keep the Gs under control. Especially if we're trying to compensate an overshoot in the time we made contact with the atmosphere (i.e. we made contact later than planned), the temptation is to give inputs that will lead to huge G-loads in an attempt to correct back. In an exam setting that will affect the score, but in real life, as well as in the centrifuge, it also affects one's level of discomfort and pain. Let's say it's a self-punishing mistake! 

Under heavy G-loads it is quite difficult to move at all. Luckily, to fly the reentry we only need to press two buttons, the ones under my thumbs in the picture. Those inputs change the roll angle of the descent module in discrete increments of 15°, roll being the rotation around the axis of symmetry. It's not very intuitive, but the roll affects the lift, so that we can control how steep or shallow we want to fly. (For those we want to try to figure it out, here's a hint: the center of mass of the vehicle is displaced with respect to the axis of symmetry).

If you want to know more about riding the centrifuge, here's an older blog post about it:
http://blogs.esa.int/astronauts/2013/07/22/a-ride-in-the-worlds-biggest-centrifuge/


#SamLogbook  #Futura

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di  +AstronautiNEWS  qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook/

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora/

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par  +Anne Cpamoa  ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha/ 
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Sean G
 
+Samantha Cristoforetti must you fly out of Srar City on launch day? My American pride made me think Russia did not have such a cool Star (space) city... thanks for teaching me something new. Hope they take good care of you!

Found a pic of you on Russia blog... while searching for Star City. Very Cool...

http://02varvara.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/14-october-2014-only-in-russia-if-you-wanna-fly-into-space-you-gotta-go-to-russia/

It's actually embarrassing +NASA does not have it's own multiple advanced Space cities. (+SpaceX help?)
(that are cleaner & more advanced?)
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L-226: Logbook

First of all, happy Cosmonautics Day! I can't imagine a more suitable place to be in today than here in Star City, where it all started. Well, I guess next year will be even better, as I will be on ISS!

But there's still a lot of training to be completed before that and the coming weeks promise to be an exciting time. This is for me the "back-up trip" to Russia: Reid, Alex and Maksim will launch on May 28th and Terry, Anton and I will be their shadows until then. Just like them we'll take the qualification exams, we'll participate in all the pre-launch ceremonies and traditions and we'll fly to Baikonour for a two-week quarantine time. And then we'll watch them blast off to space! 

So this past week I've resumed my Soyuz "routine". I had several manual flying sims (rendez-vous & docking as well as descent), while yesterday Anton and I were back together in the Soyuz simulator.

First we practiced the transition from the nominal quick profile (launch-to-docking in six hours) to the two-day profile. If you have followed the last Soyuz launch, you know that this is a very real possibility: Soyuz 38S had a minor issue with one of the burns and they had to interrupt the nominal profile to eventually dock two days later. 

In our sim, however, after the transition we also got a leak in the pressurization lines of the propellant tanks: basically we were loosing pressure in the helium tanks that pressurize our fuel and our oxidizer, so that they flow to the combustion chamber when the appropriate valves are opened. No pressure, no engine firing! So we had to immediately initiate an emergency descent, before the pressure became too low. 

A nice refresher sim, as we wait for Terry to join us next time. I attach a picture of Anton and myself that Terry took a while back... with some artistic liberty.

#SamLogbook  #Futura

(Trad IT)  Traduzione in italiano a cura di +AstronautiNEWS qui:
http://www.astronautinews.it/tag/logbook/

(Trad ES) Tradducción en español aquí:
http://www.intervidia.com/category/bitacora/

(Trad FR) Traduction en français par +Anne Cpamoa ici:
 https://spacetux.org/cpamoa/category/traductions/logbook-samantha/ 
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Hi Sam. I really enjoy your updates. Those of us with a deep interest in manned spaceflight can follow quite a few astronauts and cosmonauts at first hand nowadays through social media, but I find your texts among the most readable and interesting. I wish you the very best over the next few weeks during the back-up phase. Hopefully it will be a great rehearsal for the real thing later this year! Looking forward to further bulletins over the coming weeks and months.
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Story
Introduction
Astronaut at the European Space Agency
Italian Air Force Officer
Bragging rights
Somehow jet lag hasn't killed me yet.
Education
  • Technical University of Munich
    Aerospace Engineering, 1996 - 2001
  • Italian Air Force Academy
    Aeronautical Science, 2001 - 2005
Contact Information
Work
Address
ESA/EAC Linder Hoehe 51147 Cologne Germany
Work
Employment
  • European Space Agency
    Astronaut, present
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Cologne, Germany
Previously
Verona, Italy - Houston, USA - Trento, Italy - Bolzano, Italy - St. Paul, USA - Munich, Germany - Toulouse, France - Moscow, Russia - Napoli, Italy - Wichita Falls, USA - Treviso, Italy