41
$\begingroup$

Does the ISS keep a standing watch with one person always up and awake and monitoring while the others sleep, or do all the astronauts sleep and work and they all get alerted in case of issues beyond the normal scheduled stuff?

$\endgroup$
50
$\begingroup$

It definitely does, and not just one person - except these people are ground-based.

The astronaut crew is only a small fraction of the number of people operating, controlling and maintaining ISS. While astronauts operate in shifts, and usually (though not always) at the same time, periods when everyone on the station is asleep aren't anything infrequent. Especially after long EVA, where two astronauts work outside the station, while others take care of the robotic arm, systems, maintenance, and aid these on EVA in preparations and return, you'll have everyone asleep after a long period of joint activity.

Meanwhile, the control center operates 24/7, and save for brief periods where ISS is outside reach of all ground stations, they perform maneuvers, perform IT maintenance, control experiments that are remotely operable, monitor station status, apply regulation of life support systems, and so forth, and so on. There's way too much work just for the astronaut crew - the astronauts only do what can't be done remotely, or doing what remotely would be impossible, dangerous or troublesome, e.g. due to transmission delay (ping), or lack of remote control infrastructure.

$\endgroup$
  • 12
    $\begingroup$ How long are the periods when the ISS is outside reach of all ground stations? $\endgroup$ – A. Rex Oct 2 '17 at 12:57
  • 28
    $\begingroup$ @A.Rex you can (and should) make that a new question on the site. Go ahead. I'll upvote it. $\endgroup$ – Mindwin Oct 2 '17 at 13:18
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Interesting thing that I learned watching one of Cmdr. Hadfield's talks - they actually have books and manuals (and they've gone through training) to completely re-install the space station firmware/OS. $\endgroup$ – Wayne Werner Oct 2 '17 at 16:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I asked a full-fledged question on the site: space.stackexchange.com/q/23217/21219 $\endgroup$ – A. Rex Oct 2 '17 at 20:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @RobertColumbia: IIRC, it's Linux. $\endgroup$ – SF. Oct 3 '17 at 1:26

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.