Analog Astronaut Training is a presentation by Adam Crellin from the Austrian Space Forum at the first SpaceUP Live Virtual Conference. These are the session notes by The Space Tester.
For a replay of the entire conference, I can highly recommend visiting the Space Up YouTube Channel >>
ANALOG ASTRONAUT TRAINING
Dr. Adam J Crellin is a British medical doctor and a so-called “analog astronaut”. In short, this is a person who conducts activities in simulated space conditions.
As part of the Austrian Space Forum, a collaborative citizen science research institution led by space professionals since 1998, he’s just completed an intensive analog astronaut training course and shared his experiences in his talk today.
WHAT DOES THE AUSTRIAN SPACE FORUM DO?
This organization conducts cutting-edge interdisciplinary research (anything from astro-biology and geology to human factors and observation) and provides an interface for the Austrian space sector.
They initiate, support and connect careers, build, fly, explain and inspire people about the world of space research and travel, from kids to adults.
WHERE DID ADAM TRAIN?
As part of his latest mission, he went to live a month in the Mars-like environment of Oman to test equipment and procedures for future Mars exploration.
Being in isolation, only able to be inside the constructed habitat and in space suits, he got quite te taste of what life on Mars could be like!
WHO IS PART OF THESE MISSIONS?
People from all over the world, and from all different fields of expertise are grouped together for these type of missions.
In his latest mission, there was him and another medical doctor, a public health expert, an aerospace engineer, an AI engineer, two astrophysicists and a software engineer.
WHAT DID THE BASIC TRAINING CONSIST OF?
Before going to Oman on mission, Adam went through 5 training blocks spread out over 5 months to prepare for this mission. Each block was about four days in length. He trained mostly in Innsbruck in Austria, but also spend time at the University of Stuttgart in Germany.
In total, the entire training package consisted of 160+ hours of tuition and assessment and in between the blocks there was over 1500 pages of homework (books, training documents and space suit manuals, etc.) to go through. That all resulted in 8 final exams.
Nobody ever said it would be easy to become an astronaut!
WHAT DID THE ASTRONAUT TRAINING COVER?
The basic training was divided into 5 sections:
- INTRODUCTORY – An introduction to the Austrian Space Forum itself, spaceflight history and the modern context of developments over the years and looking at basic formats of human missions to Mars. [read more about the astronaut skill cultural understanding >>]
- GENERIC SKILLS – Non-space specific skills required to run a Mars simulation, including radio procedures, safety measures and first aid, etc. [read more about the astronaut skill social skills >>]
- SYSTEM SPECIFIC TRAINING – How to operate the space suit simulator. It takes 2 hours to put on the suit! [read more about the astronaut skill adaptability >>]
- PHYSICAL, PSYCHO-MOTOR & PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAINING – General health & fitness, managing stress and isolation and working as a team in that environment. [read more about the astronaut skills physical well-being and mental well-being >>]
- SCIENCE TRAINING – Field geology, astronomy, etc. [read more about the astronaut skill planet care >>]
WHICH ASTRONAUT SKILLS ARE REQUIRED?
- The Desire to Learn (having an all-round curiosity and being willing to participate in everything)
- Being Persistent (try tying your shoelaces with 3 sets of gloves on, good luck!)
- Being a Team Player (living in close proximity in a remote, extreme and sometimes stressful environment for a long period of time requires you to be adaptable, good in resolving conflict and easy to get along with)
- Being an Educator (you’re the public face of the organisation and do a lot of outreach on various platforms)
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Read more about the Austrian Space Forum on: oewf.org
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