The Capsule Test is a famous rite of passage for those seeking to become a space pilot. Those who successfully complete the Capsule Test receive their aerospace flight certification are thenceforce considered qualified to pilot a spacecraft alone or in concert with a crew. Cobalt Knight squires entering the spacer's service strive to be selected for, and complete, the Capsule Test, as this opens the way to what is widely considered the most exciting occupational specialty in the service.
The candidate is launched into a roughly circular, stable orbit around a large celestial body - typically Planet Evermorn, though, when traffic is heavy, Mintigel and Scrapyard are also popular choices. The candidate must then successfully pilot the capsule to a designated space station (typically the one aboard which they recieved the most important parts of their training) in an adjacent orbit. The candidate must then successfully dock with the station without damaging the station, the capsule, or any orbital infrastructure along the way. Should the candidate fail the test, they can choose to undergo additional training and make another attempt in the following year. While there is no limit on the number of times a candidate may attempt the Capsule Challenge, at least a year of instruction must come between attempts to help ensure that the candidate really understands the fundamentals. Candidates with more than three consecutive failures on their record will typically be gently encouraged to consider other specialties. After all, experience with high-level scientific and mathematical concepts is useful in a variety of careers that have less of a risk of causing a lonely, protracted death in the vacuum of space than being a pilot.
Components and tools
Evermornan space flight, using coleostats, gyroscope-based inertial guidance systems, and the like. Others are essentially stripped-down General Purpose Modules with pitiful microwave-electrothermal steam thrusters strapped onto the vertices. In this way, the Capsule Test is also an instrument rating test that requires the candidate to demonstrate an intimate knowledge of the mathematics, physics, and astronomy that are foundational to their chosen trade.
Enzo Salt is a prime example of such a squire, having completed the Capsule Test at the relatively young age of 18. Aside from the candidate themselves, the candidate's friends, family, and instructors are often close at hand to watch the proceedings. More experienced spacers watch from rescue craft in adjacent orbits, ready to trigger the capsule's contol override system and rescue the candidate should they prove inadequate for the challenge. For large classes, many candidates may attempt the challenge simultaneously to save on time and potentially launch vehicles. Candidates may not directly help one another to complete the Capsule Test, as it is considered a test of one's individual skill and trustworthiness at the helm, but those who actively participate in rescue efforts may recieve special commendation and the respect of their peers.