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Logs: situation - off nominal
posted on January 17, 2002
log entries (1)

Mark Shuttleworth:

Today was our first 'off-nominal' simulator session. We had the afternoon in the Soyuz-TM simulator, with the whole crew. We were practicing the approach and docking procedures. We didn't know what glitch they would throw at us, just that something would go wrong and we'd have to rectify it.

The ISS approach happens on the third day of the flight. We spend the first day testing the Soyuz, and the second resting. On the third day we boost the orbit to come closer to the station, then we begin the rendezvous sequence. Everything is on autopilot unless something goes wrong. That said, Roberto and Yuri are kept busy checking and re-checking the status of the propulsion system and docking computer. My own responsibilities on the day are limited to the radio system for comms with ground and with the ISS. Unless something goes wrong.

All the procedures are in the 'bord dokumentatsie' or 'flight data file', which of course is in abbreviated Russian. It's a very low-level procedural guide, down to every light and switch, and even includes the precise sentences we are supposed to use to report our status. Every step is documented down to the second, especially on complex maneuvers like docking. The documentation consists of four bound books. These are considered Russian state secrets (you have absolutely NO idea what it took to get a copy, but in the end it was just a question of asking the nice librarian). One is for launch and landing, another is for orbital flight, another is for emergencies and the last for (I think) off-nominal but not critical problems.
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