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Innsbruck, 7-10 April 2016
None of the analog astronauts had been back to the OeWF spacesuit laboratory since the AMADEE-15 mission, last August. So this refresher training was not only a very needed update and recap on our knowledge and skills, but also a great opportunity to (re-)meet everyone that was part of the mission and re-live some of the spirit of AMADEE-15.
It was as busy as a training block can be, starting, as usual, with the daily morning runs and followed by activities that ranged from updating on recent suit modifications to first aid training or geo-sampling exercises. But this is not what this blog article is about….
The analog astronaut refresher coincided (intentionally) with the first AMBT (Analog Mission Basic Training). The AMBT is a newly developed training course for future OeWF flight controllers and had actually started already some months before. For this first official AMBT course, the OeWF sent out a call for all those interested to apply and received many high quality applications from across Europe. So the selection of the lucky 15 new flight controllers was not an easy decision to be taken.
The final 15 members of the first AMBT class came from a variety of different backgrounds and some of them had even been with the OeWF for some time before, while others were completely new. As the first part of their training, they went through a series of online lectures and examination and successfully made it this far.
But after the online training, this training block represented, for some of them, the first time they would physically step into the OeWF. I remember when I had my “first step” into the OeWF and mix of excitement and nervousness I felt. I am sure it was not too different for them.
During the training, we had the opportunity to meet each other and interact, for example, with a small presentation where analog astronauts Kartik Kumar and Luca Foresta presented the new AMBT class, what a day in the life an analog astronaut looks like or a mini-simulation we did on the last day together. And one thing that really surprised me, was the professionalism and how passionate this group seemed to be. I had so many interesting discussions with so many of them and truly enjoyed working together with them during the simulation. While there is still some path ahead of this new AMBT class, before they will be certified as the new OeWF flight controllers or field crew members, one thing is for certain: good things are coming!
And my personal message to the AMBT class of 2016: Keep up the great work and I am really looking forward to working with you at future missions.
Joao Lousada, OeWF Analog Astronaut