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Astronauts practise fire drill aboard Soyuz simulator

Jenny Winder, News Writer
May 18, 2015, 23:52 UTC

Sen—During a simulated training excercise, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen and cosmonaut Sergei Volkov were faced with every astronaut's worst nightmare—a fire on board the Soyuz spacecraft. 

With three months to go before their final exams, Mogensen and Volkov were training to deal with "off nominal" situations during a simulation inside the full-scale mockup of the Soyuz capsule at Russia's Star City.

The first thing the astronauts are trained to do in case of fire is to close the visors on their spacesuit helmets to prevent smoke inhalation. Then they have to put out the fire without the benefit of fire extinguishers!

Mogensen was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009 and completed the astronaut basic training program in November 2010. He is scheduled to be launched on a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in September 2015 to the International Space Station. This ten-day mission will be Mogensen's first flight into space and the first mission by a Danish astronaut. He had been due to fly with British singer Sarah Brightman, but she pulled out of the mission last week, citing personal family reasons. It is not known yet who will occupy the third seat on the flight now.

Volkov will stay aboard the ISS as part of Expedition 45, while Mogensen returns to Earth with current crew member Gennady Padalka, one of three Russian cosmonauts currently on board the ISS as part of Expedition 43, along with cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Mikhail Kornienko, NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Scott Kelly, and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.  

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ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen and cosmonaut Sergei Volkov training inside the Soyuz simulator. Credit: European Space Agency, ESA