TSU scientists will take part in training cosmonauts

On April 2, Head of the Cosmonaut Training Center (“Star City”) Sergey Krikalyov, Deputy General Designer at the Rocket and Space Corporation “Energy” Alexander Chernyavskiy and Chairman of Presidium of the Tomsk Scientific Centre (Russian Academy of Science Siberian Branch) Sergey Psakhye, visited TSU. In the meeting with the TSU administration and leading scientists they discussed the collaboration started by the Laboratory of Cognitive Investigations with the participation of Russian cosmonauts.

Laboratory specialists will have to solve a number of important issues concerning both scientific research and practical tasks. The end result of their research will be the development of new technologies, simulators, equipment, computer programmes, as well as sets of physical exercises and techniques that will reduce the time spent on training cosmonauts and increase the efficiency of that training.

Scientists will fulfill the task relying on the study of molecular-genetic markers associated with the formation of skills to perform actions in the state of weightlessness within the model and experimental studies.

- Our main goal is with minimum means used during ground training to achieve greater environmental friendliness of human operation in space, - said Dmitriy Balanev, Head of the Laboratory of Cognitive Investigations in Space Exploration during his brief presentation of the Lab. – On-orbit activity takes a lot of strengths and health. We think that these costs can be minimized with the use of new tools for ground training.

The pilot-cosmonaut Sergey Krikalyov expressed his thoughts on the forth-coming collaboration.

- What I saw on the list of the proposed lines of work and tasks is very interesting, - he notes. – One of the principal problems still unsolved is to determine physiological and psychophysiological “cost” of fulfilling a task. Conventionally speaking, when the docking operation is under way and one person performs to the full of his/her capacity, and the other retains some resources in reserve - how can one then measure and calculate those?

This question is of great practical importance. The evaluation of the effectiveness of many training exercises is still made purely intuitively. We believe we train people to the extent they are very well fit and prepared but we do not know whether it is in fact sufficient and for how long? 

As the Head of the Cosmonaut Training Centre noted, the degree of fitness is decreasing during the space flight because a cosmonaut does not exercise almost at all on orbit. A person has gone into orbit, and in a month is expected to perform a complex task inside the spacecraft or in open space. How can one define whether the cosmonaut is in good enough shape to do that?

- We put those questions to ourselves and various smart people, - says Sergey Krikalyov, - but neither Russian nor American specialists could answer them so far. I hope that with your help we will be able to find the answer.

During the meeting, a decision has been made to deliver the presentation of TSU scientists’ programme in two American universities: those of Pennsylvania and Harvard. These universities staff is carrying out research in the field of molecular biology and genetics. Two of their staff members are working at the Laboratory of Cognitive Investigations of Tomsk State University.

It is planned that the Lab staff is going to be joined by two pilots-cosmonauts – Alexander Kaleri and Sergey Krikalyov. They will also become professors of the TSU Department of Physical Education. From now on, TSU scientists and Russian cosmonauts are going to collaborate to solve the tasks set.