Life On The ISS

Life On The ISS

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to spend time on the International Space Station? At an altitude of 270 miles, a rotating crew has occupied the ISS since 2000 and each crew spends 6 months on board.

The station has a system of labs, living quarters and a control room and it stretches almost the length of a football field and it is shared by a crew of 6. The ISS orbits Earth approximately once every 97 minutes at a constant speed of 17,150 miles per hour! As it is a weightless environment, all astronauts experience weird conditions but these conditions can be hazardous. If objects escape they can float away and become lodged in control panels so extreme caution must be taken at all times.

For work, astronauts conduct experiments or maintenance. Like most working people, they stop to eat lunch — but their lunch breaks are a little different. The food on the ISS is mainly frozen, dehydrated or heat-stabilized, and drinks are dehydrated. Astronauts collect food trays and utensils, locate their individually-packaged meal from a storage compartment, prepare the items (rehydrating if necessary), heat the items, place them in the tray and eat. After the meal, they place the used items in a trash compactor, and clean and stow the utensils and trays.

There is usually a 2 hour pre-sleep period and astronauts take this opportunity to relax and it is also this period where phone calls are made and emails are sent. The ISS is also a very noisy environment and this is a result of all the machinery used to circulate air. The air need to be pumped as there is no gravity to aid in convection.

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