Jo Richardson from the ESA ( European Space Authority ) has met Tim Peake a UK Astronaut who has an excellent knowledge about the ISS ( International Space Station ).
The ISS was put into orbit 22 years ago by a Russian rocket. The elevation of the ISS is controlled by Russia and the speed of NASA. Astronaut training as you would imagine is very rigorous. Training is done largely underwater in a mock-up of the ISS. This gives them training in simulated weightless conditions.
They also have to undergo trips in what is called the Vomit Comet. This Boeing 747 climbs very steeply to 30.000 feet and then dives vertically virtually defying gravity. Astronauts are regularly unwell during these up and down flights !!
The ISS travels at 17.500 mph and experiences four dawns and sunsets during a 24-hour period. Astronauts work a 6 day week which is accurately timed all day with the multitude of tasks in their programme.
Interestingly the Space Shuttle has been abandoned in favour of a rocket that can return to earth. All food is dry packed, there is very little water on the ISS as urine/sweat/breath is all re-cycled. Capsule docking is very precise and done by computer…..the astronauts are required to wait for three hours before opening the hatch to ensure the connection is totally secure. Re-entry through the Earth’s atmosphere is a violent and hot business with the capsule tumbling, then stabilised by the parachute and slowed with retro-rockets for a safe landing.
On return, the astronauts cannot stand as they lost so much muscle and the body has lost re-orientation due to long periods of weightlessness.
Probus Meeting 22 June was attended by 26 Members and with 6 apologies.
Note: Previous talks have been 0n Sky Diving & Colditz Castle.
Wedmore Probus Club