Astronaut’s can spend weeks or even months living and working in space.
Just recently, US astronaut Christina Koch, returned to Earth after spending almost a whole year aboard the International Space Station, shattering the record for a female astronaut in space.
Four male cosmonauts have spent a year or longer in the ISS, while the record goes to Valery Polyakov’s, the former Russian cosmonaut who spent nearly 14 months (437 days) in the Mir Space Station, between 1994/95.
The Mir Space Station was the first modular space station, that operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001. It was operated by the Soviet Union and later by Russia.
These days astronauts and cosmonauts travel to, and stay on a large spacecraft called the International Space Station which orbits around Earth.
Men and women who fly in American spacecrafts are called astronauts, and men and women who fly in Russian spacecrafts are called cosmonauts.
The International Space Station is called ISS for short.
For astronauts living in space, they see the sunrise every 90 minutes.
Astronauts work in space is the same as Earth, from nine to five to keep their days in order.
The International Space Station is an amazing work of art. The Station was constructed in space and is about the size of a football pitch.
Since 1998, it has taken over 40 different launches to completely assemble the Station.
Sixteen different countries are involved in the project, while over 200 astronauts have already worked in the station. The station is a big step towards humans permanently living in space.
The astronauts on board the ISS spend their days, carrying out scientific experiments, maintaining the station and making sure it stays in perfect working order.
Astronauts put on their spacesuits on hours before going on a spacewalk, during which time, they breathe pure oxygen in preparation for their activity
The main difference between life on Earth and in space is weightlessness. Once a spacecraft reaches orbit, anything or anyone that is not tied down will float.
Everything an astronaut might need in space is provided by the Space Agency he or she is flying with. They might be allowed to take a personal item or two with them but they must be small and light.
Everything we do on Earth to stay alive, astronauts have to do the same in space. They have to breathe, eat, keep clean, stay healthy and use the bathroom.
Simple everyday tasks such as breathing has to be carefully thought out, as astronauts use up oxygen and breath out carbon dioxide, they are in danger of suffocating, so fresh oxygen is circulated around the spacecraft.
The ISS has a complex wastewater recycling system on board. Any water it can access, whether it comes from recycled shower water, residue from hand washing, people’s breath, astronauts sweat and even urine is recycled to make drinkable water.
Air is used rather than water to suck, and not flush, body waste away.
Astronaut’s in space will drink up to eleven liters of water a day.
Astronaut’s diet in space is very similar to what we eat on Earth, such as frozen vegetables, desserts, dairy products and fruit. An astronauts menu in the ISS would easily consist of a 100 items. All meals are prepared long before launch. Packaged foods are either ready to eat, just need heating up, or might need water added.
Today astronauts can spice up their meals with salt and pepper, but only in liquid form as sprinkled grains would float away, tickling noses and blocking vents.
Three meals a day provide astronauts with the required intake of 2,800 calories.
In space, astronauts grow up to 5 cm or (2 in) taller than they are on Earth. This is because their backbone lengthens in space.
Nearly every astronaut experiences some space sickness due to the effect of no gravity. Most symptoms would be nausea, headaches and even trouble locating your limbs.
In weightlessness, floating causes all fluids to shift upward in your body, causing a puffy face and nasal congestion. Plus, as there is no weight load on the back or leg muscles, they can weaken or shrink. To counteract this, they do about two hours of exercises daily.
Several astronauts have reported that when they come back down to Earth, the hardest thing they found about re-adjusting was that if you let go an object, it falls.
Nowadays astronauts can send e-mails and talk to their families over video links. They can also receive regular deliveries of mail from visiting crews. Wow, how times have changed.