the Training Begin!
Once you have received your acceptance into our program, you will
become "Specialists in Training." After you successfully
complete the training materials, you will begin pre-mission preparation
as Mission Specialists.
For your training you will need to read and understand the materials
in the "Training Manual."
Here are some details about your upcoming mission that will help
prepare you for the training ahead:
e-Mission will take place during the solar storm event of February
Space Weather. On January 17, 2001,
the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's Space Environment
Center (NOAA/SEC) reported an S-class solar flare, category 5. This
was the fourth largest solar flare ever recorded. The data suggested
that on February 14, 2001, after the sun completes another rotation
and the solar flare faces the earth once again, we might experience
the largest solar storm on record.
During the January solar event, people around the world reported
unusual disturbances. Night-sky-watchers witnessed spectacular northern
lights farther south than usual. Global low-frequency radio communications
were disrupted. In Canada, power stations in remote areas of British
Columbia were overloaded causing an 18-hour power failure. The North
American Verizon telecommunications satellite, T-144, failed. For
thirteen hours, cell phone users lost service. Three other critical
navigational satellites shut down temporarily. Pigeon farmer Hank
Fricasee reported losing three homing pigeons. The radiation shower
had disrupted the birds' "navigational systems".
Radiation Levels. During the January
12-hour storm, space station astronauts were exposed to 100 to 1000
times the normal daily radiation dose. Mission Control advised the
astronauts to adjust the station's position and to follow standard
shielding procedures to reduce exposure. If the solar storm on February
14 is as severe as predicted, the astronauts will be exposed to
record-high levels of radioactivity.
Power Systems. The January 17 storm disrupted the space station's
electrical power system. The storm affected the Photovoltaic arrays
that generate the station's electrical power. Some systems had to
be shut down. Engineers in Mission Control feared the power disruption
was permanent. Fortunately, power was restored as the storm subsided.
Life Support Systems
Life Support Systems. Tier I and
II command-and-control computers operating the station's life support
systems stopped communicating momentarily. The atmospheric monitors
inside the space station recorded low levels of oxygen and high
levels of carbon dioxide. The cause of this problem is still unknown.
Mission Control has since uploaded new software.
Over the next days and weeks you will learn about four topics related
to this mission: Space Weather, Radiation, Power, and Life Support.
To be prepared to assist the astronauts during a similar emergency,
you will need to gain certain knowledge and skills before the mission
It is important to learn about a number of important scientific
concepts and how they are related, such as:
Atoms and molecules, the parts of
an atom, and the forms of matter
The sun, space weather, and how atomic particles create conditions
that are dangerous for the astronauts
Magnetism on the earth and the sun
Electromagnetism, electricity, and magnetism
Electricity, electrical power, solar cells, and batteries
Human respiration, atmospheric pressure, and gases
Issues in radiation health
On mission day, your mathematical
and communications skills will be put to the test. Practice the
mathematical procedures needed for the mission. Make sure you are
familiar with concepts such as percentages, subtraction, multiplication,
and the use of graphs and tables.
Communications skills include the ability to communicate
under pressure using both writing and speaking.
Team skills require that you work well with a variety of
When you have completed your training, you will qualify to be a
Mission Specialist. Managing the space station requires teamwork,
planning, and clear-headed problem-solving abilities, especially
in high-pressure, emergency situations.
Good luck! Remember, "Failure
is not an option"