Review of Soyuz Simulator experience December 20, 2018, by Marcel Faeh, Switzerland. SOYUZ SIMULATOR – what an experience!

With the preparations for the ZeroG flight at the Cosmonaut Training Center, I had the privilige to FLY TO ISS, however „only” in the Soyuz-Simulator, used by the Cosmonauts for their Training.

Standing on the steps outside of the Simulator, dressed in a special Overall in dark blue with red inserts and Stickers with my name, Roscosmos and the Cosmonaut Training Center, I feel a tinglin sensation in the stomac, nervously wondering what will be going to happen soon.

Entering the Capsule by the narrow hatch and taking the Commander seat in almost lying position, there I am ready for „take-off”.

Overwhelmed by the impressive Control Panel with incredible amounts of buttons, screens etc., I just have to close my eyes for a short moment to bring my thoughts in order that this is real and not dreaming.

The Instructor, seated on my left, and assisted by the Interpreter on my right, starts detailed explanations on the way to ISS, giving me also the chance to push respective buttons in order to stay on course. Unfortunately, I missed the shaking and vibrations at lift-off, as we were already 11km from the ISS when we started.

We also have to handle emergency situations as I create some problems when switching from automatic to manual by some wrong handling, but thanks to „Mission Control“, the problem can be solved.

In the meantime, we see on the screen ISS appearing and the tension increases the closer we get to the target. Slowly, slowly, we are moving at 0.40m/s towards the docking until we have the confirmation on the screen and I have arrived – virtually – at ISS! Unfortunately, I cannot get off and stay there for six months!

I didn't realize how time flew as I was totally fascinated to sit there and realising what Cosmonauts, squeezed in a tiny capsule, have to go through to manoeuvre the spacecraft successfully to ISS. They deserve my greatest admiration.

As a conclusion, an unforgettable and longlasting experience never to be missed. Just incredible.