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New ISS crew begins pre-flight exams

RIA Novosti

13:0525/05/2010 ZVEZDNY GORODOK (Moscow Region), May 25 (RIA Novosti) - The main and the reserve crew of the Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft began sitting pre-flight exams on Tuesday ahead of the June 16 mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

"Today, the main crew is carrying out drills on the Russian ISS simulator and the reserve crew on a model Soyuz TMA spacecraft," Cosmonaut Training Center spokeswoman Irina Rogova said, adding that the crews would swap over on Wednesday.

The main crew includes Russian cosmonaut Yury Yurchihin and U.S. astronauts Douglas Wheelock and Shannon Walker. Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyiev, Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli and U.S. astronaut Catherine Coleman are on the reserve crew.

The exact crew will be confirmed after the two-day exams.

Before the drills, crew members were asked about potential emergency situations, both on board the spacecraft and at the ISS.

Head of the Cosmonaut Training Center Sergei Krikalev said he was sure the crew would pass the exams.

He said the language barrier was a major hindrance to communication among the crew. To overcome this, Russian language is included in the training.

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