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Letter from Gen. Stafford and Academician Anfimov Regarding The Flying of Visitors to the ISS

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2001

March 30, 2001

Mr. Daniel S. Goldin
Administrator
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Washington, D.C. 20546

Mr. Yuri Koptev
General Director
Russian Aviation and Space Agency
42 Schepkina Street
129090 Moscow
Russia

Dear Messrs. Goldin and Koptev:

From your request of March 16, 2001, the NASA Advisory Council (Stafford) Task Force Rosaviakosmos (Anfimov) Advisory Expert Council (TF-AEC) Joint Commission has engaged in a joint assessment of the safety and operational issues of flying a non-professional astronaut/cosmonaut to the International Space Station (ISS) during the upcoming Soyuz 2 taxi flight (scheduled for April 2001.)

The discussions on the findings of this report occurred at meetings in Russia on March 27 30, 2001, at TsNIIMash and GCTC. Representatives from the TF-AEC Joint Commission met with experts from NASA, Rosaviakosmos, RSC Energia, and GCTC. Mr. M. Sinelschikov provided the opening statements regarding the work of the Joint Commission. The briefings provided to the TF-AEC Joint Commission by the Russian and American experts were as comprehensive and complete as could be expected, given the compressed timeline in which it worked. The dialogue produced the following:

Findings:

  1. Col. C. Precourt, Chief, Astronaut Office, reported in his remarks to the Joint Commission that the ISS crew workload in April, May, and June is heavy, and flights to ISS during this time must be reserved for professional astronauts/cosmonauts. Since the final timelines for the Soyuz 2 crew and the ISS Expedition crew were not yet available, the Joint Commission was not able to undertake an analysis of the possible affect on ISS operations during the taxi crew visit.

  2. Mr. D. Tito has been trained and certified flight ready by the Russians to fly the Soyuz 2 taxi flight based on their guarantee that he would only be interfacing with the Russian segment hardware. Soyuz 2 Crew Commander Col. T. Musabaev spoke to the Joint Commission stating that Mr. D. Tito is fully certified to fly and he as crew commander guarantees the safety of Mr. D. Tito's flight on ISS. GCTC Chief, Cosmonaut Office, Col. V. Korzun, stated that he is confident that the crew of Soyuz 2 will do their utmost to prevent Mr. D. Tito from interfering and will ensure his safety. The Russian medical commission has qualified Mr. D. Tito for flight.

  3. Col. C. Precourt stated his concerns on training sufficiency, operations planning, language capability (mission terminology), and safety onboard ISS. Mr. D. Tito has not trained with the U.S. trainers on the U.S. segment and has not trained with the Expedition 2 crew; Russia's ISS Partners in a letter to Mr. Y. Koptev dated 3/13/01, believe that these are mandatory prior to arrival on the ISS.

  4. There is no agreed upon set of requirements against which to evaluate the flight readiness and safety of a non-professional crewmember to fly aboard the ISS.

  5. The only criteria available is the draft BCOP/MCOP/MCB "Principles Regarding Processes, and Criteria for Selection, Assignment, Training and Certification of ISS (Expedition and Visiting) Crewmembers" [Crew Requirements] which was developed by the BCOP, but is yet to be approved by the MCB. This draft includes criteria and a process for the assignment of Expedition and visiting astronauts/cosmonauts. Currently, the Russians state that it does not apply to the upcoming taxi flight of Soyuz 2. This document proposes that the sponsoring partner will certify flight readiness of their visiting crew members and present such certification to the BCOP/MCOP/MCB for approval.

Recommendations:

  1. The ISS Partners should reach resolution on the draft BCOP/MCOP/MCB Crew Requirements and adopt them as interim requirements to evaluate the suitability of ISS crewmembers.

  2. The Russians, as required, should take action to address any shortfalls in Mr. D. Tito's training relative to the requirements of Recommendation 1.

  3. The MCB process to deal with exceptions to the requirements imposed on the flight crews must be clarified and must be followed.

  4. Any candidate crewmember completing the requirements of Recommendation 1, or a combination of the waiver process in Recommendation 3 and the requirements of Recommendation 1, shall be considered cleared for flight to ISS.

Conclusion:

The Joint Commission concurs with the Russian certification of Mr. D. Tito to safely fly onboard the Soyuz 2 vehicle and recognizes his training to interface with the Russian segment hardware, using a modified training template (900 hrs.) The Anfimov Advisory Expert Council believes that Mr. D. Tito's training is sufficient to fly on the ISS and concurs on the conclusions drawn by GCTC that his training ensures safety onboard the ISS. The Stafford Task Force however does not feel that it has sufficient information to verify Mr. D. Tito's suitability to fly onboard the integrated ISS.

The Joint Commission recognizes the authority of the BCOP/MCOP and MCB concerning resolution of all ISS crew matters which affect all the partners. Further, the Joint Commission believes that rapid acceptance of the above recommendations will help to clarify the crew certification process, help to mitigate safety concerns, and promote a mutual understanding of operations on the integrated ISS. Without such processes and standards, safety of operations cannot be verified.

This letter constitutes our completed assessment. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Original Signed By:

Lt. General T.P. Stafford, USAF (Ret.), Chairman, Stafford Task Force

Academician N.A. Anfimov, Chairman, Utkin Advisory Expert Council

bcc:

I/Schumacher
M/Rothenberg
M-1/Readdy
M-4/Hawes
Q/Gregory
JSC/AA/Estess
JSC/OA/Holloway
JSC/OA/Cabana
JSC/OC/Johnson
NAC/Parkinson

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