Interview: Valery Korzun
International Space Station Expedition Five Crew Interviews with
Commander Valery Korzun.
Valery, you are set to begin a four-month-long mission in space;
can you give us a bit of a summary-what are the goals of this expedition
A: OK. Main
goal of our expedition is to continue assembly of space station;
this is main goal. If some details about our expedition, during
our expedition we will work together with three shuttle crewmembers
and we will make two EVA. And we will docked…I mean, not mean
dock, our dock, but control over the docking two cargo ship, and
two cargo ship, and we will unload this cargo. And, of course science
program-this is not just only Russian and American science program,
this is international space program. We will conduct a lot of experiments:
Russian, American, European, Japanese.
you look at the role that you will play here, do you see, on this
mission, that you are being more of an explorer or more of a scientist,
or is it something else?
it's very difficult for me to call myself "explorer" because
a lot of people was in space before my flight, and on they live
on station, American station, Russian station, before. And I think
first of all my main duty [is] to provide the safety of the, our
program, space program, and this is in general, because everybody,
every crewmember have personal duty: my colleagues, they are flight
engineer, they respond, they have responsibility for the control
of the station systems, American side of the station, Russian side
of the station. But myself, I am, in general I should be control
of the escape ship if we need to use this one; I am pilot in the
transport ship. And I am operator during the cargo ship docking.
And during our mission, I mean during our common activity with shuttle
crew, I need to provide organization on the station for science
experiments, for activity, during activity with shuttle crew. And…if
I think about cosmonaut, who they are in space, they are not only
engineer or pilot, not only researcher or explorer; they are sometimes,
they need to fix something, they need to be doctor if we have situation,
an injury situation. And we should be maybe a little philosopher,
and diplo…diplomats, we need to be, diplomacy, because this
is important in space, especially in space, and when a lot of people
from different country work together in space.
me about you, if I may; why did you want to become a cosmonaut in
the first place?
I know a lot
of my colleagues wanted to be cosmonaut, they were children or something;
I never want to be cosmonaut because when I started my career as
pilot and usually Russian Space Agency selected commander for the
space mission from pilot team, and but I was big, I mean now, I'm
not short now and I'm not, and parameters of my body was not good
for cosmonaut's body.
were too tall?
Yes, I am
too tall, and, maybe my weight not big weight for a spaceship because
long time ago in Russian program use not big people, because space
capsule was not big, and they have special limits for the people.
And, why I didn't dream about cosmonaut because I knew that I never
can be cosmonaut because I am big. And when I was student in the
Military Air Force Academy GCTC, Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center
selected pilots for the cosmonaut team. And, suddenly I felt…myself
I wanted to be cosmonaut, and I write report because I am military
I should use military form, I wrote report to commander of GCTC
and I done medical check-in and passed some exams, and I was selected.
I was surprised. But later, I had some problem with my body. But
no it was successful for me later.
why is it that you wanted to be a cosmonaut?
When I was
a student at military academy, I read new information about space
program, Russian space program. And our famous writer, Yaroslav
Golovanov published some material about our space program. And I
remember one of the, maybe main phrases from this material, for
me when they selected pilot to be cosmonaut, they suggested him
to fly on the new vehicle-new, unusual vehicle because huge speed
and huge altitude and it was very interesting for me. And, I don't
know why, but I wanted to fly on the new vehicles, especially new
vehicles in space, because for me it was unusual flights. And after
that I was selected on the cosmonaut team.
me a bit about your history, your path in education and in your
career, your military career, that led you to that point.
I was born
on, the south of the Russia, and when I finish school, I…I
go, I went to the pilot military college, and I finished this college
and served approximately ten years in the Air Force. And after that
when I finish Air Force academy I was selected on cosmonaut team.
I have short history. But, I was fighter when I finish my military
career, I was commander of squadron, and I served in [an] aerobatic
regiment. And I flew, I finish to fly as military pilot on the MiG-29.
And after that, approximately fifteen years, I am a cosmonaut in
GCTC, and I am participant of small piece of Russian space program.
in fact, have almost two hundred days of experience on orbit when
you were the Commander of Mir-22 in 1996 and 1997. And of course
on your mission to the Mir space station there was an on board fire
that almost forced the crew to evacuate. Would you tell us briefly
about what happened, but more importantly, I think, how has that
experience influenced your feelings about the danger of spaceflight,
or your approach that you transmit to your crewmates of how you
go about your daily operations on orbit?
OK. But I
know two books which describe situation on station with fire, and
I know NASA create movie about this one. And I think a lot of people
know about this situation. Shortly…there were six people on
space station Mir; if there are three people we usually use oxygen
system-it's called Elektron- and then we have additional people
we need to use additional oxygen stick to provide oxygen pressure
and atmosphere. And for this goal we use oxygen generator, and,
oxygen during activation of the oxygen generator and oxygen stick,
that stick was burned. Later, a Russian specialist study what happened
with this stick, and they have had some opinions but exactly they
didn't know, don't know what happened really. But sometimes we can
have the same situation in space, because on ISS we use the same
generate that they change condition for, stowage condition for the
oxygen stick, and they protect this generator from the fire. They
improve this system. I mean, in Russian and American. I know, and
I knew every time about flight in space, the flights in space are
dangerous, and all people understand this one, not only astronauts
and cosmonaut; all people understand this one. But, after that case,
I mean fire I understand usually a dangerous situation come suddenly,
suddenly; and very important what training crew had before. If we
had additional, have additional good training for the emergency
situation, usually everybody will…will do right things, I mean
right activity, good behavior. And because if somebody will lost
in this situation the whole crew will have problem. And, after that
situation Russian change some flight rules, and now if we had before
maybe one training for emergency situation on space station, now
we would have approximately one month, one each month, of this training
for refresh our knowledge, to refresh our navigate, navigate in
the emergency book, and a lot of different things. And of course
every time we need to check condition of the, for the equipment
which we need in emergency situation. Because I remember when we
come on station Mir, we check, checked this equipment month just
only one fire extinguisher was attached to the station not nominally,
because they, and previous crew didn't remove special bracket which
use during launch, and our crew didn't pay attention. And when we
try to use this extinguisher we had some problem. But there were
a lot of extinguisher; we used another extinguisher. But, this is
why we need to understand condition of the equipment for emergency
situation. And…summary after that, and now we usually discuss
with my crew about this one. If we have emergency situation, maybe
one hundred time a day, every time we should keep together and discuss
and understand what happened. Because, you know, sometimes if we
have one signal, alarm signal, crew come together; then after five
minute another, after five minutes, because it's possible to have
very often this alarm. And every time we should pay attention for
each alarm signal. This is in general.
and Peggy and Sergei are going to begin your mission when Ken Cockrell
and his shuttle crewmates deliver you to the International Space
Station. And you mentioned the time that you have to do what's called
a handover, where Yury Onufrienko and his crew work with you and
your crew to get you set up. On your first mission, you took a handover
from Yury Onufrienko…
well, but you had two weeks then; this time you have five, six days
or so. Is that long enough?
This is not
long enough but if we need maybe in shortest handover it will be
good for us, but I try to explain that situation. On Mir we had
two weeks or maybe three weeks, it depends, of each expedition.
Two weeks, this is not only handover, two weeks for handover, because
we use maybe 5-or-10% of common time for handover, and another time
we use for science experiments between this period when new crew
come to the station and old crew prepare to go to the ground. The
same…the same situation on ISS: shuttle will come and we will
have six days together, not just only for handover because maybe
we will use 3% of common time for handover. What is purpose of the
handover? Just only for adaptation for station, for each crew. We
have special book; we will use this book and there is each system
described in this book, and there are some empty space which we
need to use to write changes between condition of systems which
we study on the ground and real condition of this system on board
station. And maybe…not maybe, we will study real situation
with stowage of the equipment in station. And, you know, if we had
a lot of training on the ground and to activate or to use a system
in space, this is not the same than simulator on the station. And
we need to have some times to adapt, maybe first time, I can see
Yury activity or Peggy will see Carl activity or Sergei will follow
Dan's example or something; they will study. And…about handover:
now we needn't to use a lot of time for handover because each crew,
each shuttle crew bring down some video and, we have now opportunity
to watch video that crew made in space and show us situation. And
sometimes I think this is a good idea, to look, to watch video and
to recognize configuration inside of the module, and we have access
for the information. Then information special groups send it's called
8 O'Clock form, I think. This is a condition of the station. They
send this information on space for the crew's, station, and they
read this information. And we can read this information. And if
we have time we can read telegram or we can read some information
which Mission Control sent to the station. And very important for
us to use INV, this is inventory management system. This is very
important system for us, and now we have a chance to see real INV
on the ground because they periodically send information, Mission
Control have information about INV condition, and we can read and
we can use this system. In other words we have now a very good access
for, to have information about real situation on station.
as you say, it'll, you'll need as much information as you can because
there's a lot of other activity scheduled during that mission. There
are now three spacewalks scheduled during that shuttle mission primarily
to install a new component, called the Mobile Base System. Can you
tell me, briefly, what is the Mobile Base System, and how is that
going to improve the way the station can function in space?
previous shuttle 8A bring on station I called milestone of the truss
system. Truss system-this is huge construction which will include
solar battery, electrical power battery, and special reel, reels
for the Mobile Transporter. And it's Mobile Transporter will install
on the reel. MBS will be installed on the MT, Mobile Transporter,
and MBS include four places-it's called PDGF- this is special place
for a robot arm located on the MBS. And PDGF provide power, data,
and video signal to and from SSRMS-SSRMS, this is abbreviation of
robot arm-and there is a special place for payload, for temporary
stowage of the payload. And…I will repeat MT will install on
on truss, MBS will install on MT, robot arm will install on the
MBS, and these assembly will translate along the truss.
that's going to be installed during spacewalks on UF-2. During those
spacewalks, tell me what part you will play as part of the team-what
do you do while the shuttle astronauts are working outside?
of our crew have personal tasks in during this activity. I will
support EVA crewmember on the shuttle who is robot arm during EVA
1, and Peggy will grapple MBS and translate MBS and connect MBS
to the MT, and…Sergei will check station system during this
activity and help us with video view during MBS installation. And
during…my mission in this case, I mean when I will support
shuttle crew, I need to transfer Franklin from Airlock to cargo
bay of the shuttle; he will ungrapple spare PDGF and then I will
translate him to the P6. This is for, for there is a special place
for PDGF stowage. He will install this PDGF and then move back to
the cargo bay, and unfasten pack of MMOD shield-this is special
protection for the Service Module. And then I will transfer him
to the, with MMOD shield, to the PMA-1. And, they will, Franklin
and Philippe will temporary stowage of this MMOD shield, and during
our EVA, we will take this MMOD shield and we will transfer it to
the Service Module, and we will install this MMOD shield around
the corner of Service Module. They will protect Service Module from
meteors during flight. This is on shuttle.
you're referring to a spacewalk that will occur after UF-2 has already
left, a spacewalk that you will conduct at the time. Why don't we
discuss that right now-talk about, there are, I believe, two spacewalks
that are scheduled to be conducted out of the Russian segment of
the space station. Tell me who will be going outside and what the
tasks are during those, the EVAs.
of our EVA will be 8 and, 7 and 8. The first EVA we will do if I'm
not [mistaken], one of the, it will be in July and another in August
before 9A will come. First EVA, we will conduct with Peggy, we will
take MMOD shield from PMA-1, transfer it with Russian Strela equipment
to the Service Module, install this MMOD shield on the corner of
the Service Module, and then we will install two antennas which
they will use for ham radio; antennas, we will install on the Service
Module. And then we will replace science equipment which it's called
Kromka, and this Kromka now install in the nozzle of the engine.
And then, we will take old Kromka and install new Kromka. And, we
will come back. Approximately time of the EVA will be six hours.
is a second…
no, I didn't tell about. We will use DC, this is Docking Compartment
Russian airlock, and we will use Russian spacesuit Orlan. And second
EVA we will conduct with Sergei Treschev from Docking Compartment.
We will install, we will replace flow regulator of the thermal control
system of the FGB. And we will remove one of the panel of Japanese
experiments, and then we will install special equipment for cable
outside of the station. This is approximately the same EVA time,
it's about six hours.
other major assembly tasks, which, as you said, are a primary goal
of this mission, will come during a shuttle visit during your expedition-9A-which
delivers the S1 truss segment and a CETA cart. Can you tell us about
those new pieces of hardware: how will they expand the station,
what do they do?
center of the truss system or truss segment is 01 [S0]. During assembly
of the truss, shuttles will bring a new piece of truss. And second
piece of truss will be S1. S1, this is piece of truss which we'll
install on the starboard side of the S, of the truss. And shuttle
crew will bring this S1, and Peggy Whitson will connect this truss,
will take this S1 from the cargo bay of the shuttle and connect
to the S1 starboard side. And then after that they will connect,
and we'll connect cable, we'll connect coolant line, and install
CETA. This is a piece of the MT, if, before MT used just only S0;
now after that MT will use S0 and S1. This is, we'll have, …biggest
way move around the truss.
the CETA cart…the acronym for CETA is "crew equipment
that, what that does.
correct to, it's correct to. In general, this is the same MT but
just only manual. We will use this one for transportation equipment
along the truss. CETA, this is short, small transporter, and there
are some places for the equipment for the big-size equipment, which
will install for the temporary stowage of the, to the CETA. And
then there are some control equipment of the CETA; I mean, brakes
and release or something, you know; manual brakes or, and there
are, …some, APFR, I mean special equipment which astronauts,
cosmonaut use for the, attach to the CETA. And then CETA will…transportation
along the truss manual of the EVA guys which will use.
not talking about your mission in chronological order, and that's
all right; I'd like to get you to step back from the assembly portion
of the mission and talk for a few minutes about the science portion
of the mission. Tell me, how do you see that the space station's
scientific mission is going to be advanced, is going to be expanded,
during Expedition 5.
of the station not complete science program…science program,
this is main goal of the ISS but during time when assembly of the
station not complete science program not big and maybe…not
important in this period. But…usually science experiments include
some part of the science program. I mean, this is technological
experiments, biotechnological biomedicine experiments or different
part of the, these experiments. And, I know…a lot of experiments
will provide for the monitoring of the Earth's surface. I mean,
ocean, pollution, and place where plankton appear in the ocean.
If when…and we will, we will do science experiments on the
Russian segment and U.S. segment, and everybody have personal task
for this experiments. And I know one of the experiments to study
cold plasma and other experiments to study crystal grow, which they
will use on the ground. And a lot of experiments study radiation
situation in the space, not just only in, on, on the, into the station
but outside of the station. And a lot of experiments study human
body in space. We have a lot of experiments with blood, with muscle,
muscles, with bones, with mind, with psychology experiments, because
it's very important for, to study behavior of the people who live
long time in the isolation place.
the Commander of this mission will you be spending only a short
amount of time doing science, or will you be spending a good bit
of your time on that?
what does it mean, "Commander?" Commander not just only
give direction. I mean-and check safety; this is additional duty.
I think our main duty, my main duty to do science experiments and
not only science, replace equipment, plan fixed of some equipment,
and a lot of things. And I think approximately 40% of my activity,
it will be science experiments. And we need to study, I will study-not
study, I mean, I will…conduct-experiments for ecology, for
the geography for the extreme situation on the ground. I mean, looks
like fire and flood and we will use we will try to use communication
which we have on station for the quickly…warning for the ground.
I mean, not just only for Russia, and U.S. and Europe and a lot
you think that, at the point that your replacements, the Expedition
6 crew, arrives, and you and Peggy and Sergei are preparing to come
home, in your opinion, by the time you're ready, your expedition
is completed, what will have had to have happened, what will you
have had to have accomplished, in order to consider Expedition 5
to have been a success?
I think special…specialists
will evaluate our activity, but I think most important for us: done
all experiments, to make all our tasks, to conduct all experiments.
And…and one other thing we should…we have to safe station,
safe condition of the station systems, and I know this is not American
value to talk about mistakes of the crew, but I think most important
for us haven't mistakes, or if we will have just only minimum and
not very dangerous.
International Space Station, as a project, is a science laboratory
as well as a place to, meant to develop new technologies and to
do commercial research and development; but it's also a place where
people learn how to live in space, and where the nations that they
represent can learn to work together. I'm interested in your opinion:
what do you think is the most valuable aspect of the International
some aspects, I think; first, political aspects. Because I think
this is better when country cooperate in space program. To conduct
space program and to have personal science program which they will
make on will do on the station. And, I think human cooperation in
this case, this is main goal of ISS. This is first reason; second
reason, this is science experiments. Because a lot of country have
very nice science potential, and they can use this opportunity to
provide, to do new experiment in space. And…and I hope results
of this experiments will help the people on the ground. And, you
know, for example in space we can create a new metal; we cannot
do it on the ground, but we can do it in weightlessness. And we
can grow new, maybe, medicine for the people which may be killed
in the future, cancer, cancer, or…which…and the…
this is second reason. And, I think from my opinion, this is more
important romantic reason: because the people on the ground know
about station, and the children want to be cosmonaut, astronauts,
to fly in space, and this is dream…for them. And I think this
is very important for a new human generation, to think about it
and to have wishes to go in space, and to have something unusual
because looks like the same experience you never have on the ground,
you will have just only in space. And you know I think this is important
things in our life. Sometimes the people, I understand government
and the country maybe measure money, evaluate how many money, money
they put in the space program, but nobody calculate what we will
have in the future when the people when the new generation will
think about it. And I think this is good dream for children now.
And, this just only shortly.