Today was our first 'off-nominal' simulator session. We
had the afternoon in the Soyuz-TM simulator, with the whole crew. We
were practicing the approach and docking procedures. We didn't know what
glitch they would throw at us, just that something would go wrong and
we'd have to rectify it.
The ISS approach happens on the third day of the flight. We spend the
first day testing the Soyuz, and the second resting. On the third day we
boost the orbit to come closer to the station, then we begin the
rendezvous sequence. Everything is on autopilot unless something goes
wrong. That said, Roberto and Yuri are kept busy checking and
re-checking the status of the propulsion system and docking computer. My
own responsibilities on the day are limited to the radio system for
comms with ground and with the ISS. Unless something goes wrong.
All the procedures are in the 'bord dokumentatsie' or 'flight data
file', which of course is in abbreviated Russian. It's a very low-level
procedural guide, down to every light and switch, and even includes the
precise sentences we are supposed to use to report our status. Every
step is documented down to the second, especially on complex maneuvers
like docking. The documentation consists of four bound books. These are
considered Russian state secrets (you have absolutely NO idea what it
took to get a copy, but in the end it was just a question of asking the
nice librarian). One is for launch and landing, another is for orbital
flight, another is for emergencies and the last for (I think)
off-nominal but not critical problems.