Today in the NASA Village… You Need to Experience It
you know trainers need to experience some of the astronaut training for
themselves so they can better guide and relate to our experiences?
Korona is our EVA (extravehicular activity or spacewalk) lead for our
expedition. She has the overall responsibility for my training and any on orbit
activities that involve a spacewalk. Above she is trying on an Orlan spacesuit.
you ever seen or heard of an Orlan spacesuit? It is a Russian spacesuit where
you enter from the back (this is called rear entry)! You can see Sarah getting
in an Orlan in the photo. It is actually great for “donning” the suit
more easily, as compared to the US EMU. However, the Russian suit has only one
upper torso size (as compared to 3 sizes in the US suit). I can attest that it
is made for someone quite a bit larger than me! My first spacewalk was in the
Orlan space suit. Orlan means eagle in Russian language…and since I felt how
I imagine a bird must feel flying over our planet, I thought it was very aptly
reason it is essential for NASA Villagers like Sarah Korona to try on different
spacesuits is because they will be directing the astronauts in the pool.
Knowing the limitations of the suit and experiencing the suit first hand will
better prepare them to relate to the astronauts experience.
Sarah is in an American spacesuit (an EMU–extravehicular mobility unit or
space walking suit). Sarah’s knowledge and hand size came in handy one day as I
was donning the US EMU. I noticed an irregularity in my glove before I did the
underwater run. I knew it would not be possible to complete the training in
that configuration. Sarah was able to test out the problem herself because of
her experience in the suit and able to fix it on the pool deck. I then put on
the glove and was able to complete the training.
type of familiarity and knowledge with the suits enables her to assist the
crew, not only on the pool deck, but even more importantly, when we are in
space. She has the expertise to offer suggestions and techniques for us to try
when we run into problems (as invariably we do). Those communication skills we
talked about are important for the crew to describe the problems accurately and
with enough detail that the ground teams can come up with some options and
solutions for us. It is so amazing to be a part of this team!
Next time on the NASA Village… Gremlins in the Console.
Do you want more
stories? Find our NASA Villagers here!