Survival flair

Illustration ©GCTC – Id 390182

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano is seen here gearing up for his second mission to the International Space Station in 2019 on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. All astronauts who fly on Soyuz do a winter survival course in the forests near Star City, Russia.

When Soyuz lands on Earth support teams are usually at hand within minutes to help the astronauts out, but there is always the possibility that the capsule lands in a remote, cold area. As part of their normal training, astronauts learn to survive in harsh climates while waiting for rescue. For Luca, the course is more of a refresher than learning new skills – he already survived the training in October 2012 as part of his first mission.

This course includes getting out of Soyuz unaided, changing from spacesuits into more winter-friendly garments, signalling for help (as pictured here), building a shelter out of wood and the capsule’s parachute, building a fire and providing first aid.