THE SPACE STATION

 

 

 

Great photo

 

 

 

 

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 The International Space Station, the largest international scientific and technological endeavor ever undertaken, is taking shape in factories and laboratories of 15 nations around the world. With the Space Station, a permanent laboratory will be established in a realm where gravity, temperature, and pressure can be manipulated in a variety of scientific and engineering pursuits that are impossible in ground-based laboratories. The Space Station will be a test bed for the technologies of the future and a laboratory for research on new, advanced industrial materials, communications technology, and medical research.

 

Program

The International Space Station is a permanent orbiting laboratory in space capable of performing long-duration research in the unique environment of Earth's orbit. The Space Station will:

1. maintain U.S. leadership in space and in global competitiveness

2. serve as a driving force for emerging technologies

3. forge new partnerships with the other space faring nations of the world

4. inspire our children

5. foster the next generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs

6. satisfy humanity's need to explore

 

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(This is a very large image, so please be patient while it loads up - It is WORTH IT!)

 

Aboard the international orbiting laboratory, science crews will:

1. conduct medical research in space develop new materials and processes to benefit industries on Earth

2. accelerate breakthroughs in technology and engineering that will have immediate, practical applications for life on Earth and will create jobs and economic opportunities today and in the decades to come.

Assembly of the Space Station begun in November 1998 and was completed in March 2010. In orbit 220 statute miles above the Earth, the Space Station will circle the globe at an inclination of 51.6 degrees to the equator. This orbit has two advantages:

1. It can be reached by the launch vehicles of all the inter-national partners, providing a robust capability for send-ing crews and supplies to the Station.

2. The orbit provides excellent Earth observation with coverage of 85 percent of the globe and overflight of 95 per-cent of the planet's population.

Now completed, the Space Station will be 356 feet across and 290 feet long. It  weighs about 950,000 pounds. Up to seven people will live on the Space Station.

 

Phase One: The Shuttle-Mir Program

In preparation for the 1998 assembly and operations of the International Space Station, NASA and the Russian Space Agency are cooperatively using the U.S. Space Shuttle and the Russian Space Station Mir to provide technology demonstrations, risk mitigation, operational experience, and early science opportunities.

Accomplishments include:

1. The flight of a Russian cosmonaut on the Shuttle in February 1995, during which Russian and American space ground crews operated the Shuttle jointly for the first time in two decades.

2. The March 1995, launch to Mir of Dr. Norm Thagardon

Russian Soyuz and his 110-day Mir stay permitted collection of the first long-duration medical data on an American astronaut since Skylab in the 1970's.

3. The Russian Spektr Module, carrying 750 kilograms of U.S. life sciences hardware, was launched to Mir in May FS-1997-01-004-HQ

 

 


Time in Space, A Space in Time

 

07.18.12

 

There are only so many hours in a day, as many people lament while trying to fit in everything they hope to accomplish for work, family and fun. It seems like everyone Expedition 30 flight engineer, works on a Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellite, or SPHERES, in a portable glovebox facility in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. (NASA) could use more time. With only 24 hours in a day, people have to divvy up the valuable commodity according to their priorities. This can be a challenging juggling act for anyone, but when you live and work in space, like the crew of the International Space Station, the setting itself can determine time and tasks.

Astronauts aboard the space station are no strangers to the importance of a schedule. In a recent blog entry, NASA astronaut Don Pettit addresses the topic of timekeeping and the challenge of balance. He points out that, whether living in a habitat in the ocean, the Antarctic, or in space, survival is the first order of business. In the unrelenting environment of space, the setting can alter priorities with little or no notice. A piece of space debris or unexpected system failure could very quickly reorient every crew member from the task at hand to a united effort.

"When humans venture into a harsh wilderness, the fraction of time on task shrinks, while the effort to simply be there grows," said Pettit. "You are lucky to log six hours of mission tasking and six hours of sleep. The rest of the time is spent simply trying to stay alive."

When there are no immediate dangers, the crew focuses on scheduled workloads and daily routines. The breakdown may vary from day-to-day, but in general includes a 1-hour meeting with mission control, a 12-hour workday, a second 1-hour mission control tag up, and an hour to finalize tasks before dinner. Sleep and personal time fall within the remainder of the 24-hour day.

"This leaves about a nine-hour slice of off-duty time until the whole routine begins anew," said Pettit. "Note well that this is not 'free time,' but 'off duty time' -- a significant distinction when living on a ship, be it on the ocean or in space."

Within the 12-hour working day, there is a further breakdown of tasks. In general, this comes to 6.5 hours on primary mission tasks, such as research, operations, and maintenance. The crew members also spend 2.5 hours on physical training for both research goals and their own health. What time remains is quickly consumed by preparations for the primary tasks, unplanned repairs, and general upkeep to maintain smooth conditions throughout the mission.

Expedition 30 flight engineer, equipped with a bungee harness, prepares to exercise on the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, or COLBERT, in the Tranquility node of the International Space Station. (NASA) "The breakdown of primary mission tasks is coordinated between the critical systems and the research planners," said NASA's International Space Station Program Scientist Julie Robinson, Ph.D. "Research priorities from the different sponsor organizations are integrated into a single research plan."

While Sundays are light workdays for the crew of the space station, there is no such thing as a weekend off when living on orbit. "To date, we have had four weekends in a row where something came up that trumped our off-duty time," said Pettit. "During this period we worked over 30 days without a break. When you go to the frontier, you are there to do something productive, not to sip tea and eat bonbons."

Pettit, who returned to Earth on July 1, shares a tip in his blog entry on his own way of making the most of any break time on orbit. This is when he might compose a blog entry, send notes to family, or even work on voluntary science or education activities. Citing organization as the key, he keeps a cheat sheet of 5-, 15-, and 30-minute task options in his pocket, which he refers to when there is a pause in mission tasks.

"Then, when you truly have a significant span of off-duty time, perhaps on a Saturday night, there is nothing more awe-inspiring than floating for an orbit in the cupola and observing Earth," said Pettit. "My personal slice of time pie may be only a sliver, but oh, how sweet it is!"
 

Jessica Nimon
International Space Station Program Science Office

 

 


Station Spinal Ultrasounds Seeking
Why Astronauts Grow Taller in Space

 

01.02.13

 

Did you ever wish you could be just a teensy bit taller? Well, if you spend a few months in space, you could get your wish -- temporarily. It is a commonly known fact that astronauts living aboard the International Space Station grow up to 3 percent taller while living in microgravity. They return to their normal height when back on Earth. Studying the impact of this change on the spine and advancing medical imaging technologies are the goals of the Spinal Ultrasound investigation.

Studying the impact of how astronauts' spines elongate during flight, as well as advancing medical imaging technologies are the goals of the Spinal Ultrasound investigation aboard the International Space Station. (Istockphoto/S.Kaulitzki) "This is the very first time that spinal ultrasound will be used to evaluate the changes in the spine," said Scott A. Dulchavsky, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator for the station study. "Spinal ultrasound is more challenging to perform than many of theprevious ultrasound examinations done in space."

Part of the difficulty with imaging the spine is quite simply human anatomy. UsingUltrasound 2, the machine aboard station as a facility for human health studies, astronauts have an advanced tool to view the inner workings of their bodies.

"Today there is a new ultrasound device on the station that allows more precise musculoskeletal imaging required for assessment of the complex anatomy and the spine," Dulchavsky said. "The crew will be able to perform these complex evaluations in the next year due to a newly developed Just-In-Time training guide for spinal ultrasound, combined with refinements in crew training and remote guidance procedures."

The research could help with developing exercises for better crew health and guiding improved rehabilitation techniques when astronauts return to Earth. Understanding how changes to the spine occur in real-time response to life in space also will help crews prepare for future long-duration missions.

Another benefit of this research is that spinal ultrasound could gain clinical acceptance on the ground for medical testing. Dulchavsky points out that this shift could reduce costs and provide a safer imaging option for patients.

"Ultrasound also allows us to evaluate physiology in motion, such as the movement of muscles, blood in vessels, and function in other systems in the body," said Dulchavsky. "Physiologic parameters derived from ultrasound and Doppler give instantaneous observations about the body non-invasively without radiation."

Six crew members will serve as test subjects for these spinal ultrasound scans. The data sessions are scheduled to take place on orbit starting in January 2013. An astronaut will scan the spinal area of a fellow crew member at 30, 90, and 150 days into flight. Researchers will watch in real time from the ground via streaming video downlinks. Ultrasound images will focus on the cervical and lumbar areas of the spine and surrounding tissues. The test subjects will also undergo pre- and post-flight ultrasound and MRI scans on Earth to provide baseline data.

Ultrasound technology is convenient for use not only in space, but also here on Earth. Due to the portability of the machines, the rapid training methods developed by NASA researchers and the repeatability, ultrasound can offer an inexpensive and scalable alternative to MRIs for healthcare needs. Medical personnel already make use of thetraining methods developed for the space station crews when usingultrasound in remote areas.

"This technique in spinal ultrasound may someday serve as a clinical data source where standard MRI imaging is not available, even if this seems ambitious," Dulchavsky said. "The vast majority of the global population has no access to an MRI. The in-flight tools such as the interactive Spinal Ultrasound guide can also be used to train other complex procedures, albeit medical or otherwise."

So just why do astronauts get taller in space? Researchers are hoping this study will help answer that question, while also growing medical knowledge of the spine and improving ultrasound methods and procedures.
 

 

 

Jessica Nimon
International Space Station Program Science Office

 

 


 

Milky Way Viewed From the International Space Station

 

 Click Here

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman captured this image from the International Space Station and posted it to social media on Sept. 28, 2014, writing, "The Milky Way steals the show from Sahara sands that make the Earth glow orange."

Aboard the space station, the six-person Expedition 41 crew is currently preparing for two spacewalks set for Oct. 7 and 15. During the first six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk, slated to begin on Oct. 7 around 8:10 a.m. EDT, Wiseman and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst will transfer a previously uninstalled pump module from its temporary stowage location to the External Stowage Platform-2. The two spacewalkers also will install the Mobile Transporter Relay Assembly that adds the capability to provide “keep-alive” power to the system that moves the station’s robotic arm between worksites. NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore will join Wiseman for the second Expedition 41 spacewalk on Oct. 15.

 

 

Image Credit: NASA/Reid Wiseman

 

 

 

 

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Click on the images below for a larger one.

Italian built module named leonardo

Long Apacer modules

The Interim Control Module

The Italian built module, named Leonardo

The Long Spacer

PMA-2

PMA-3

Control Moment Gyroscope (CMG)

Pressurized Mating Adapter (PMA)-2

Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA)-3

The Control Moment Gyroscope (CMG)

 

Zarya

 
 

The Control Module, or Functional
Cargo Block (Russian acronym FGB)

 

Photo credits: NASA

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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