Final Training Weekend
︎ 11 August 2023
︎Written by Jack Gordon
Meili-I launch is upon us!
After months of training in geology and physical fitness, dozens of logistics and mission documentation, the crew is finally ready to go. Last weekend in Wales, we completed the final pre-deployment training for the mission.
Friday evening saw us practising deploying the habitat, somewhat sheltered by the dense woodland. The crew recognised that we will probably have a more difficult time deploying it on Lunga, facing the weather.
We experienced a “good day on Lunga” the following morning, where torrential Welsh rain battered us as we ate breakfast under a tarp, and set off through the hills to the first geological interest site of the day.
We were led through dense ferns, muddy hills and rain by Mission Engineer, Alistair Babington, before arriving at the first rocky outcrop. There we stopped for further hands-on geology training with geology research lead, Arty Goodwin. There is really no substitute for hands-on training, and it really helped to tie everything we’d learnt together. It was beneficial for non-geologists on the crew to see and feel the rocks, and the small details that make them interesting to geologists.
Payload Commander and crew geologist, Megan Hammett says:
“As the mission’s geologist, it was great to see the rest of the Meili-I crew put their online geology training into practice - I’m feeling confident we will return from the mission with some exciting new research and data!”
“I’m feeling confident we will return from the mission with some exciting new research and data!”
We navigated to a second geological site for more training, then returned to camp for a Q&A session with Dr Loel Collins, for the Decision Making in High Performance Environments study.
To tie off the day, we did a final geological mini-survey to complete the geological training.
Sunday morning saw the return of clear skies. CEO Myles Harris and Mission Commander Gidon Gautel conducted a virtual dry run of a day on mission, which allowed the crew and mission control to work through final logistic issues and get to grips with the flight plan.
Our final activity before returning home was the distribution of food for the mission. Each analogue astronaut was issued a whopping eight kilograms of freeze-dried food from a varied menu, kindly provided by one of our mission sponsors, European Freeze Dry.
CEO Myles Harris had this to say about the training weekend.
“The final training weekend provided an opportunity for Analogue Astronauts and Mission Control Team to pull all of their learning together, test their kit, and complete pre-mission data collection. As the director of Meili-I, I was impressed by how well both teams have prepared for the mission, even when rehearsing data collection in the pouring rain! I am thrilled to be working with such a brilliant group of people who are laying the foundations for space exploration analogue missions in the UK.”
By the end of the weekend, morale was high, it was clear that the crew and mission control couldn’t wait to get started, we’re looking forward to a successful mission.