Tag Archives: ISS

NASA astronaut: Space toilet inspires ‘sheer terror’

Forget motion sickness and adjusting to microgravity. Astronaut Jack Fischer is most worried about facing the space station’s intimidating bathroom facilities.

On Thursday, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer is scheduled to embark on his first voyage to the International Space Station. He’s excited to be working on a variety of experiments, including ones dealing with plant growth and bone growth, but he’s less than thrilled about the prospect of using the loo in microgravity.

In a NASA Q&A, Fischer reveals what he expects his greatest challenge will be. He says it’s the toilet. “It’s all about suction, it’s really difficult, and I’m a bit terrified,” Fischer says.

In case you think Fischer is exaggerating his toilet trepidation, here’s NASA description of how the commode functions: “The toilet basically works like a vacuum cleaner with fans that suck air and waste into the commode.” It also requires the use of leg restraints.

“Unlike most things, you just can’t train for that on the ground,” Fischer says, “so I approach my space-toilet activities with respect, preparation and a healthy dose of sheer terror.”


Astronauts & Their Pets: How To Care For Your Pet From Space

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) offers a variety of courses on Satellites & Space-Related courses.

We thought this could be of interest to our readers.

Space: the final frontier, the dark expanse, the great unknown. It’s a place only a few brave humans have traveled, and one that mystifies most others. For the astronauts who spend time among the stars, outer space is a realm that offers them amazing and unique experiences.

Full of unknowns, space also offers its fair share of distinct problems. Science Channel’s new showSecret Space Escapes features some of the bizarre and terrifying issues that can occur when you leave Earth. But not all of the struggles of space are this extreme; some are as simple as home sickness or missing your furry best friends.

Three astronauts featured on Secret Space Escapes about how they dealt with being committed spacemen and pet owners.

Image above: Mission Specialist Clayton Anderson made his first shuttle flight on STS-117. Anderson served as a flight engineer on Expeditions 15 and 16.










Clayton Anderson

He was a mission specialist on the STS-117 mission aboard Atlantis.  He stayed on the ISS for five months before returning to earth with the crew of STS-120.

Clayton has two dogs: Cosmo (a mini dachshund) and Lizzy (a dachshund/Yorkie combo).

His main means of communication with his furry friends were video chats.

Astronaut and medical doctor Scott Parazynski was a crewmember on STS-86, the seventh shuttle mission to dock with Mir.









Scott Parazynski

Scott was also on mission STS120.

He is a proud owner or Mare ( a planetary scientist dog). Mare’s name generates from the maria on the moon, the black parts on the moon that you can see with the naked eye.

Scott mainly communicated with Mare via phone calls.

Daniel Toni

Daniel has a total of 132 days in space about ISS.

He has an 18 year old cat named Koshka (Russian for cat) and a dog named Tayto (after the Irish brand of chips).

He doesn’t have a memory of seeing them in a video conference, but he is sure they were around. Like many things, the meowing and barking just go in the background.


All of them would have loved to have their pets in space, but are afraid that potty functions and dog breath could be an issue…





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In Space, Yesterday’s Coffee is Today’s Coffee

Do you still wish you could be an astronaut after watching the lung-flattening launches and bone-crunching landings? Has the eyeball-oscillating gimbal failed to dampen your spirits? What if we told you that coffee, the most precious of nectars essential for civilized behavior, will be brewed from your own pee?

When every gram lifted into orbit costs a fortune, “Reduce, reuse, and recycle” becomes more than just a trite saying. That covers everything, up to and including purifying liquid waste (ie, urine) into a more palatable beverage.

Or, to put it more bluntly: yesterday’s coffee is today’s coffee. Suddenly that coffee spot with the greatest view imaginable is looking a bit less appealing, even if the mechanics of making it happen is impressive engineering.

But recycling pee into water in space isn’t as easy as it is here on Earth. When the original Urine Processor Assembly went to the space station, it developed a “pee pancake,” a precipitate of that clogged up the system. The system needed to be modified to filter additional calcium ions: all that bone loss in microgravity resulted in astronauts peeing out double the normal concentration of calcium ions!

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Name NASA New Free-Flying Robot and Win $1,000!

Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. We think the news below will be of interest to our readers.

NASA has a new “free-flying robot” they’ll be sending up to help out the International Space Station crew in 2017. But let’s be honest: “free-flying robot” is kind of a mouthful. That’s why the space agency wants help creating a name for the little guy, as well as a new mission patch design!

Of course, this robot isn’t the first free-flyer to hop aboard the ISS—NASA has a whole fleet of “SPHERES” (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, a clever acronym that would make Marvel jealous) which assist the crew in a myriad of ways. All of them are able to move autonomously throughout the outpost, but can also be controlled remotely by crew members; the new fleet, according to Topcoder, “will eventually extend the research and exploration capabilities of astronauts, as they are capable of working during off-hours and (eventually) in extreme environments.””

The full guidelines for the contest can be found at Topcoder, but here’s the main gist: to enter the contest, all you have to do is sign up and then create a name and custom graphic for the mission patch, which also needs to have the name of the space mission on it somewhere. Preliminary feedback on the initial designs will be given out on October 22nd, and the contest ends on the 27th. Oh, and there’s also cash prizes for winning, in case the thought of naming a robot wasn’t a cool enough draw for you. So start designing, team!

To participate in the challenge and learn more about it, go to http://www.topcoder.com/challenge-details/30046039/?type=design&noncache=true.

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UKRAINE CRISIS: There is At Least One Place the U.S. and Russia Are Still Getting Along. It’s Not on Earth

Expedition 38 crew members proudly sport their national flags in this March 2014 picture from the International Space Station. Pictured (clockwise from top center) are Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, commander; Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins, and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, all flight engineers. Credit: NASA Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/110010/budget-2015-ukraine-crisis-not-disrupting-russian-soyuz-flights-nasa-admin-says/#ixzz2vCxFYTDY

International Space Station (ISS)  is jointly operated by the U.S., Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan. Currently, there are three Russians, two Americans, and one Japanese astronaut on board the station currently orbiting earth. Roughly 250 miles below, however, the relationship between the two superpowers is a good deal different, with Vladimir Putin refusing to rule out using military force in Ukraine and the Obama administration accusing the Russians of creating a “pretext to invade.”

The ever-increasing tension between the United States and Russia does not, according to NASA, extend to outer space, via the Washington Post:

“Everything is nominal right now with our relationship with the Russians,” said NASA administrator Charles Bolden during a teleconference Tuesday. With the space shuttle retired, the U.S. relies on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to get to and from the space station. Russia charges about $71 million per seat. There is no other way for American astronauts to get back to Earth.

Tuesday’s teleconference was set up to allow Bolden to discuss the White House’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request, but he wound up fielding numerous inquiries from reporters about whether the Ukraine crisis has affected NASA’s strategic planning. No, Bolden said repeatedly. He noted that past flare-ups between the U.S. and Russia have not affected operations in space. “We have weathered the storm through lots of contingencies here,” Bolden said.

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The New Age 3D Printer To Be Sent To International Space Station By NASA

It is no secret that 3D printers are the new fab. Everybody is interested in them. As a matter of fact, one of our friends has recently purchased one and gave us a demonstration. We were floored!

3D printing is a process of melting plastic filament and creating solid objects by building them up in very thin layers.

The technology is used in a wide range of industries from construction to aerospace, and is now starting to make its way into space.

It is well known that NASA wants to take 3D printers into space. The technology would be highly useful to the men and women on the International Space Station as they would be able to quickly repair components with plastic replacements. There is a problem though – how do you 3D print something in a zero gravity environment?

In a video released by NASA, the agency goes into how its experimenting with 3D printers here on earth to ensure that the technology will be able to function in zero gravity environments. Here’s what NASA has to say about its latest endeavor:The goal of 3-D printing is to take this capability to microgravity for use on the International Space Station. In space, whatever astronauts have available on orbit is what they have to use — but just like on Earth, parts break or get lost. When that happens, there’s a wait for replacement parts, or the need to have multiple spares that have to be launched. The ability to conduct 3-D printing in space could change all of that.

NASA plans to launch the first 3D printer into space in June of next year. It will hopefully be the first of many as the space agency plans to use 3D printers in a number of space missions over the next few years and decades. In fact, one of its most ambitious plans is to create a 3D printer that extrudes food to make pizzas for long manned space flights.

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International Space Station and the Power Of Twitter: Stunning Daily Pics from Space Available to All

Images taken from space can take your breath away.  There is something truly amazing in seeing our world from such a distance and understand how beautiful and fragile it is.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is a bit of a space celebrity. Some of his hobbies include tweeting back and forth with William Shatner, posting recordings from space on SoudCloud, and even beaming down the occasional video of himself playing the guitar.

But the best of his messages from space (at least in our humble opinion) have got to be the photos of Earth he tweets daily from the ISS.

He shares a little bit of everything: the webbed lights of cities at night, checkerboard farmland covered in snow, swirling currents deep in the ocean, massive river deltas, and much more. It’s all there for you to browse through on his Twitter feed.

Here are a few of our favorites:

We highly suggest you take some time to look through his photo archive and see more of the spectacular views the ISS astronauts get each and every day. And keep in mind, these are all captured while traveling about 17,500mph at an altitude of about 250 miles.

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Finally! A chance to tour the International Space Station!

We’ve seen some remarkable photos and videos that look out from the International Space Station but not very many that look in.

Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams has spent some 321 days aboard the ISS, as a flight engineer and more recently as a commander of an expedition. She has gone for walkabouts outside and is the first person in the world to do a triathlon in space. In this video, Williams takes us on a tour of the space craft that she has called home for almost a year, showing the different modules, sleeping quarters, kitchens, and orbital outhouses from her perspective.

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Three new residents arrive at International Space Station

The Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft docked at the space station’s rooftop after a two-day orbital chase. Riding on the Soyuz were American astronaut Kevin Ford of NASA and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin, who are beginning a five-month mission to the space station.

“We can see you, everything looks fine,” Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, who was already onboard the station, told the approaching crew before the two spacecraft docked about 230 miles (370 km) over southern Ukraine.

Ford, Novitskiy and Tarelkin launched into space on Tuesday (Oct. 23) atop a Soyuz rocket that blasted off from the Central Asian spaceport of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They are the second half of the space station’s six-person Expedition 33 crew, which is commanded by NASA astronaut Sunita Williams. Malenchenko and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide round out the crew.

The Soyuz spacecraft is bringing some fishy friends to the space station in addition to its human crew. The spacecraft is ferrying 32 small medaka fish to the space station so they can be placed inside a tank, called the Aquatic Habitat, for an experiment to study how fish adapt to weightlessness.

Thursday’s Soyuz docking at the space station kicks off a flurry of arrivals and departures at the International Space Station.

A robotic Dragon space capsule built by the private spaceflight company SpaceX will depart the space station on Sunday (Oct. 28) and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California. The Dragon capsule will return nearly 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms) of science experiment hardware and other gear back to Earth.

On Wednesday (Oct. 31), an unmanned Russian Progress spacecraft will launch toward the space station and arrive six hours later to make a Halloween delivery of food, equipment and other Halloween treats.

Williams, Hoshide and Malenchenko are in the final weeks of their mission to the space station, and will return to Earth Nov. 12. At that time, Ford will take command of the space station crew to begin the Expedition 34 mission.

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SpaceX Dragon to rendezvous with International Space Station on May 7, 2012

Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, has announced plans to launch its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft on 7 May.

SpaceX had originally planned to launch the spacecraft next week, but it postponed the launch to give engineers more time to complete preflight testing and analysis. According to the company, the launch is set for 6:38am PT, weather permitting, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

If all goes well, SpaceX’s spacecraft will be the first privately built and funded spacecraft to rendezvous with the International Space Station. The goal is for SpaceX to conduct regular commercial cargo missions to the space station.

Read more here.

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