Everything you need to know about life aboard the ISS

As we noted earlier, last weekissued for the space industry is very unfortunate. First, a serious accident of the Antares missile company Orbital Sciences, which exploded, barely starting to take off. Fortunately, there was no one aboard the Signus spacecraft that was carrying the Antares. The space truck was going to deliver new supplies to the International Space Station. Problems with provisions on the ISS, too, much to the relief, is not expected. The reserves at the station will last until March 2015, but by this time they will, of course, be replenished. The second catastrophe was associated with the Virgin Galactic company and their SpaceShipTwo tourist spacecraft. Unfortunately, there were no victims here. One of the pilots of the shuttle was killed, the second was seriously injured. However, in both cases, an investigation was initiated and we still have to find out the official details of these accidents.

But back to the ISS. People living at the station are directly dependent on people on Earth, since it is from the Earth that new spare parts for repairing the station, various experimental equipment, oxygen, food and personal hygiene products are delivered to the ISS. It should be noted that these hygiene products and packaging, which contain food, are different from those that we all used to use. Shampoo and soap, for example, are very independent products and do not require rinsing with water, as is customary in our home, and food, in turn, is very often stored in the form of dehydrated powder. If you want to know how people live and work on the ISS, what graphics are followed and what they generally do there, then this article is definitely for you.


  • 1 What is the ISS and when did people start living on it?
  • 2 How do astronauts and astronauts get to the ISS and come back?
  • 3 What is the daily routine of the crew of the ISS?
  • 4 What experiments and repairs are underway on the ISS?
  • 5 How does the crew of the ISS keep clean and use the toilet?
  • 6 Food, entertainment and the Internet
  • 7 How do station residents monitor their physical health?
  • 8 How is mental health maintained?
  • 9 Do residents of the station sleep at all?

What is the ISS and when did people start living on it?

International Space Station isinhabited orbiting satellite, located at an altitude of 354 kilometers and making a full revolution around our planet every 90 minutes, with the result that the crew of the ISS every day becomes a witness to 16 sunsets and sunrises. Such a large-scale project as the ISS is not being conducted by a single country. Russia (Roscosmos Agency), the USA (NASA), Japan (JAXA), several European countries (ESA), and Canada (CSA) take part in it. In other words, the ISS was built thanks to the cooperation of all these countries. Each of the space agencies of these countries regularly sends astronauts (or astronauts, if we talk about Russia) on an expedition to the ISS, which can be up to six months. The first such expedition took place on October 31, 2000. At the same time at the station can live up to ten people. The minimum number of crew members may be two or three people.

How do astronauts and astronauts get to the ISS and come back?

You are probably wondering: How do other countries get to the ISS? So, the Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft have become the main means of delivering cargo and new crew members to the station since 2003. American astronauts without a work program of space shuttles also have to use the services of the Russian side. The United States actually hires "Unions" and "Progress", and at the same time the cost of space for one person costs the US side about $ 71 million. According to the American astronaut Ron Garan, who lived on the ISS in 2011, the Soyuz spacecraft is so cramped that the launch of the spacecraft is felt by almost every fiber of the body. The process of returning the apparatus to the atmosphere of the planet Garan compared with "the fall of man from Niagara Falls inside the barrel (which also burns), culminating in a very hard landing." Still, there are some amenities, but there is: instead of several days, as it was before, astronauts and astronauts returning to Earth now have to huddle in the cramped walls of the Soyuz for only six hours of flight.

It is not yet clear how the current differences betweenthe Russian space agency and the US space agency will affect future missions related to the ISS, but private companies have stepped up from the US leading to the development of manned spacecraft and promising to launch them by 2017. Fortunately, there are no political differences on board the ISS itself between the crew members. As the American astronaut Kadi Coleman shared in an interview with the portal Engadet, the crew tries not to touch on political issues, but instead people try to find common interests.

What is the daily routine for the crew of the ISS?

In an interview with Coleman (if you remember, an astronaut,who advised Sandra Bullock about what it was like to be in space ... straight from space) told how one of her usual days on the ISS passed:

  • 7:00 am - rise
  • 7:10 am - conference
  • 7:30 - 8:00 - breakfast and preparation for work
  • 8:00 - 12:00 - carrying out planned experiments (setting, execution, completion of experiments)
  • 12:00 - 12:30 - lunch
  • 12:30 - 18:00 - conducting experiments
  • 18:00 - 19:30 - dinner, viewing of the news from the Earth recorded and sent the day before
  • nineteen:30 - midnight - cleaning and familiarization with the work plan for the next day; a time when you can talk with your family on Earth, and once again be surprised by the fantastic view of our planet from the station's portholes
  • At some point in the day, every 5-6 days a week - conducting a two-hour exercise session (30 minutes on a treadmill and 70 minutes of strength exercises)
  • Friday - cosmonauts and astronauts work on their personal projects and all together watch a movie

When crew members are not engaged in conducting scientific experiments, they perform station repair work or are prepared for work outside the spacecraft.

What experiments and repairs are underway on the ISS?

Since 2000, the ISS conducted a variety ofscientific experiments for various government agencies, private companies, educational institutions. Experiments range from growing some zucchini to observing the behavior of an ant colony. One of the latest experiments, for example, is 3D printing in zero gravity and testing of Robonaut humanoid robots, which in the future may well help the station crews in their work. When asked about which experiment, according to Coleman, is the most interesting, she replied: "The crew members themselves." Calling himself a "walking and talking experiment of osteoporosis," Coleman noted that a person in space loses weight and density of his bones about 10 times faster than a 70-year-old man on Earth. Therefore, the study and analysis of blood and urine samples under microgravity conditions “helps to better understand the mechanism of loss and recovery of bone mass.”

In addition to the tasks of conducting scientificResearch ISS crew members are responsible for the proper operation of all station systems. In the end, if something goes wrong, then the life of all life on board will be in danger. Sometimes you even have to go outside to repair any broken part or simply to clear the space debris that has accumulated near the station, which can definitely cause harm. In this case, the crew members wear their spacesuits and go into outer space. By the way, one of the most memorable spacewalks was the case of the American astronaut Sunita Williams, who used a regular toothbrush to repair the station’s solar power system.

Since spacewalks are alwayslimited, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) decided to attach a two-handed assistant robot, Dextre, to the Canadarm2 retractable mobile service system. The multifunctional system is used for various tasks, among which is the additional assembly of the station, and the catching of unmanned spacecraft heading for the ISS, such as the SpaceX module of the SpaceX company carrying various supplies to the station. Robot "Dextrom" remotely controlled from the Earth. From there, the repair work of the station is also managed so as not to disturb its crew once again. This year, Dextre even repaired the Canadarm2 system itself.

How does the crew of the ISS keep clean and use the toilet?

Hair, nails or water bubbles - notbest friends to expensive station equipment. Add to this microgravity - and with negligence you can expect trouble. This is why crew members are very, very careful when it comes to their own hygiene. Known to many Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield (who became a real media star in 2013) once even said that security comes to such a level that crew members have to swallow toothpaste after they brush their teeth. Hadfield is widely known for his videos on YouTube, where he talks about life at the station and shows how people wash hands with it (special soap), shave (using a special gel), shave (using a kind of vacuum cleaner), and they cut their nails (and at the same time they catch every piece of their own flesh floating away in this case). In turn, Coleman says that the crew use a special shampoo, but during her stay at the station she was unable to take a shower, although it can only be called a shower with a big stretch. The fact is that in order to clean up, the residents of the station use only a wet sponge, and not the whole set that can be found on Earth.

As for the toilets, then, of course, on the ISSIt is impossible to use ordinary toilets, as we used to use on Earth. Space toilets use a sanitation system to collect human waste, which is then stored in special bags inside aluminum containers until it is completely filled. Each such filled container is then discharged into the atmosphere, where it is completely burned. Tracy Caldwell-Dyson (who flew to the ISS in 2010) told the Huffington Post publisher that despite the fact that the toilet was not originally designed with the consideration that it would be used by a woman (it was developed by the Russian space agency, which until recently was sent to MKS only men), she still was able to use it.

As for urine, then, as Hadfield says,Urine is sent straight to the filtration system, where the output is clean water, which the residents of the station reuse for drinking, as well as rehydrating their food.

Food, entertainment and the Internet

Food on the ISS is usually stored in specialvacuum packs that are very easy to use. The station team receives a very different diet, ranging from the main courses and ending with desserts. Some of these products are packaged in finished form, some require rehydration before use (for example, spinach powder or ice cream). After the delicacy, crew members need to get rid of these open packages in order to avoid getting pieces of food on expensive equipment. A very interesting detail is that some of the commanders of expeditions to the ISS completely prohibit the use of certain products on the station, such as gumbo soup (American dish) or cupcakes (as well as other crumbly products), since after using them the station has to be constantly cleaned from crumbs.

In the access station residents have severalmeans for their own entertainment: movies, TV shows, books and music, for example. However, for Garan and many other people who lived on the ISS, nothing can be compared in interest with photographing and admiring our planet from afar. That is why when you request “photos from the ISS” to Google, you will find a huge number of various shots. Well, if you consider how many pictures from the ISS can be found on the Web, then it becomes clear that the residents of the station have access to the Internet. According to astronaut Clayton Anderson, the ISS Network appeared in 2010, but Coleman notes that the Internet was very slow in 2011, when it arrived on the ISS. The station residents communicate with the team on Earth, as well as with members of their families using a voice or video chat on a channel with a frequency of 2-4 GHz, however, according to her, the Internet was so slow at that time that “it wasn’t worth the time to use during her expedition. " Today, the maximum Internet speed on the ISS (not without the participation of a separate dedicated communication satellite NASA) can reach up to 300 Mbit / s.

How do residents of the station monitor their physical health?

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Virtually every new member of the ISS crewfaces the so-called "cosmic disease" in the first days of his stay at the station. Symptoms of this disease are nausea and dizziness. Therefore, each "novice" is given an emetic packet with an antibacterial tissue, which the astronauts use to clean the face and mouth from the remnants of vomiting so that it does not spread around. Over time, the bodies of "newbies" begin to acclimatize and they feel some changes in their physical condition. At the time of these changes, the human body becomes slightly longer (the spine, in the absence of attraction, completely expands), and the face of the person swells a little, due to the fact that the fluid in the body begins to move upward.

Unfortunately, nausea and dizziness are notThe only factors of acclimatization. Newcomers to the station often have vision problems, accompanied by flashes and light strips in their eyes. Scientists of aerospace agencies are still trying to find out the exact cause of this phenomenon, so they ask the station residents to monitor the condition of their eyes and regularly send new information back to Earth. Some scientists nevertheless believe that this problem is associated with an increase in pressure inside the skull (fluid, as already stated above, in the state of microgravity begins to move upwards).

The problems do not end there, but onlybegin The fact is that the more you are in space, the more bone and muscle mass you lose due to the lack of gravity. Of course, swimming in space should be definitely fun, but while aboard the ISS, you literally wear your body. Fortunately, residents of the station can deal with these problems by frequent physical training for two hours a day using special equipment: a bicycle ergonometer (or just an exercise bike), a treadmill (with many straps to fix your body), and also a special Advanced Resistive Exercise device Device (ARED), which uses vacuum to simulate gravitational pressure and allows you to perform squat exercises. Astronaut Williams once even used this simulator to simulate swimming!

How is mental health maintained?

Physically maintaining healthy bones and muscleswe figured it out, but what about the mental health? Coleman said that she spoke through radio contact with psychologists every two weeks during her expedition, but she was offered to conduct such conversations more often if she herself so desired. In addition, “to remain a man in the boundless darkness of the cosmos” allows you to communicate with relatives and relatives, with whom you can share “about the sore”.

"The importance of the entire mission becomes especially clearwhen you're already aboard the ISS. This, in turn, helps to get along with the people with whom you work. This is much easier to do there than on Earth, because there it’s easier to see a common goal towards which you are moving with the rest of the people at the station, ”comments Coleman.

Are station residents even sleeping?

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With such a tight schedule of work with scientificdata, conducting numerous experiments, monitoring the correct operation of all systems of the station, exercise and many others may seem that these people never sleep. However, it is not. Residents of the station are allowed to sleep even at the moment when they “float” on it. Nevertheless, each crew member, like an ordinary person, needs some personal space, so most often people sleep in small “closets” in vertically arranged sleeping bags that hold them at the time of rest. Sleep can be up to eight and a half hours a day, but most of the station’s residents get enough sleep in just over six hours. The fact is that in the conditions of microgravity, your body is not as tired as with normal gravity.

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