Questions tagged [iss]

Questions about the International Space Station, a habitable man-made low Earth orbit satellite whose first component was launched in 1998 and used to conduct experiments for a wide variety of research fields in a microgravity environment.

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101
votes
6answers
20k views

What makes Ada the language of choice for the ISS's safety-critical systems?

We have it on good authority that Ada is widely used for "safety critical software" on at least the US side of the International Space Station. Of all the possible languages to choose from, what are ...
70
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4answers
28k views

Why does the ISS have to be destroyed?

ISS might be destroyed soon, de-orbiting for a controlled reentry into the Pacific Ocean. Why isn't simply pushed away from Earth to an outer stable orbit (not sure if it's possible) or even into an ...
62
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4answers
13k views

Why do ISS crew members often cross their arms?

I am watching live stream from ISS to follow the return of two ISS crew members, Thomas Pesquet and Oleg Novitskiy. At several moments, they crossed their arms in a not really natural way: Why do ...
61
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9answers
12k views

Which country borders are visible from space?

You can see the borders of North Korea with China and South Korea at night from the ISS since unlike their neighbours, they have almost no light. That got me thinking, which other country borders (of ...
61
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3answers
8k views

Is there no physical security in space, other than being in space?

I saw Gravity the other day and while visually and emotionally compelling, and besides the liberties taken with orbits, something else struck me as unrealistic, but I'm not sure if it is or isn't:...
60
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5answers
20k views

Is a Moon-base inherently more dangerous than a Space Station?

Living in space is pretty dangerous, and the wonderful people of the ISS float around the Earth at risk of radiation and micrometeoroids. I'm curious if they're any more safe than if they simply were ...
58
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3answers
5k views

Washing clothes in space: are there any technical challenges?

Currently, the ISS is resupplied with fresh clothes from the Earth. I remember reading a report on NTRS stating that the requirements for fresh clothes proved to be much higher than expected. Thus, ...
54
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3answers
20k views

This image of the Space Shuttle is truly beautiful, but is it real?

I saw this image in the Infobae article La NASA probará un paracaídas para posar naves espaciales en Marte ("NASA will test a parachute to place spaceships on Mars"). The image looks plausible to me, ...
54
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1answer
6k views

Why use water tanks from a retired Space Shuttle?

In 2015, technicians entered the retired Space Shuttle Endeavour to remove the water tanks, with the goal of reusing these tanks on ISS. The space shuttle Endeavour is retired and on display at the ...
52
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7answers
34k views

Why is the breathing atmosphere of the ISS a standard atmosphere (at 1 atm containing nitrogen)?

The Wikipedia page for the International Space Station says that it has a fairly Earth-like, sea-level atmosphere: 21% oxygen, balance nitrogen at 101.3 kPa. Supposedly it's because a pure-oxygen ...
50
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1answer
2k views

How long is the ISS out of reach of all ground stations?

This is a followup to a recent question and answer discussing ground-based monitoring of the International Space Station, specifically in the context of an astronaut crew that is all asleep. How ...
46
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2answers
9k views

What caused this bright light from the ground at night seen from the ISS?

The music video on the NASA Johnson YouTube channel The Sound (& Visions) of Silence shows images and video of Earth taken from the ISS by astronauts Sergey Ryazanskiy, Paolo Nespoli, and ...
44
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7answers
43k views

Can I see the ISS from the surface with the naked eye?

Can I see the International Space Station (ISS) from the surface with the naked eye? If yes, how can I determine that it really is the ISS?
43
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2answers
4k views

Why does the International Space Station produce so much methane?

According to NASA, roughly "1,000 pounds of methane are produced on International Space Station and dumped overboard as waste gas every year"[1]. It seems like an awful waste to just get rid of it. ...
43
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2answers
4k views

What's the baseball bat for? (seen in CRS-8 berthing NASA TV broadcast)

Watching the CRS-8 Berthing live broadcast on NASA TV I noticed a baseball bat resting on top of a console in the front left part of the room, so I took some screenshots. Looking closer, it seems to ...
42
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1answer
5k views

Why vent $CO_2$ and $H_2$ waste products to space on ISS?

In this answer, it's mentioned that waste $CO_2$ and $H_2$ from the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) are vented into space from ISS. Are there no other uses for this material ...
41
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1answer
8k views

Does the ISS have a watch system with at least one person monitoring at all times

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 ...
40
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2answers
7k views

Why do they have a Snellen eye chart on the ISS?

During a recent NASA broadcast, I noticed something in the background: It looks like a Snellen chart to me, but why would they have that on board? If that's not it, what is it then?
39
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5answers
12k views

What did the Soviet Union and Russia bring to the ISS?

From a comment on another question: The international agreements leading to the ISS are quite complicated. Leaving Russia aside, each of the international partners brought significant assets ...
39
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10answers
7k views

Why isn't a centrifuge used for astronauts on the space station?

One thing I've always wondered is why don't astronauts sleep in a kind of rotating bed that spins creating force? This would allow them to sleep and would be able to simulate earths gravity. Why don't ...
39
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4answers
9k views

Are there any weapons in space?

We can break this down into two categories: For internal security purposes, does the ISS have any type of weapon on board? For global security purposes, are there any orbiting weapons (that we know ...
39
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1answer
25k views

How often does ISS require re-boosting to higher orbit?

I know that ISS, being in low Earth orbit, requires regular boosts. But I can't seem to find information on how often does this happen. Is it done during each resupply mission, only during some of ...
39
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1answer
6k views

What would happen if a mutiny occurred on the International Space Station?

Historically, mutiny has often occurred in close-quarter situations. While the International Space Station (ISS) is not a military operation, the term mutiny is often used to refer any sort of ...
38
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4answers
4k views

Are there any safety procedures in place on the ISS in case of puncture?

The ISS is a huge (relatively) satellite which, according to NASA, is longer than a football field. I am curious about what would happen if the station's skin was punctured - perhaps by a careless ...
37
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2answers
13k views

What language is software running on the ISS written in?

What is the coding language used for the software used on the ISS? Is it NASA's own coding language, or is it something like C, or C#, maybe Haskell?
37
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3answers
13k views

Why decommission the ISS?

What concerns, besides orbit decay and continued cost of operation (and potentially, a critical failure) are the motivations behind decommissioning the ISS by 2020? I mean, I'm fairly sure it would be ...
35
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1answer
4k views

Is there a mockup of the ISS on the ground?

Is there a replica of the interior of the space station on the ground? For training astronauts and to try out equipment installations.
34
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2answers
7k views

Is the International Space Station “hackable”?

I was recently rereading this previous question of mine: What would happen if a mutiny occurred on the International Space Station? As I was considering different contingencies, the thought occurred ...
33
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4answers
4k views

When the ISS moves, do the astronauts feel it?

The ISS has thrusters to avoid debris and to combat orbital decay. Do the astronauts feel the station moving? Do they have to hold onto something and it is the same for when they rotate the station ...
33
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3answers
16k views

Why doesn't ISS pass over the polar regions?

The ISS orbits West to East covering almost every part of the land on Earth, but excludes the polar regions. Why was this orbit chosen?
33
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1answer
6k views

Why does there appear to be a 180-degree stereo microphone array outside the ISS?

I was watching a feed on the latest footage of Hurricane Matthew as seen from the ISS just now, relayed from NASA TV. Suddenly, I spotted something poking out of the ISS hull in the footage that ...
33
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2answers
7k views

How do ISS astronauts “get their stripes”?

This answer shows two astronauts on a spacewalk outside the ISS. The caption reads: Rick Mastracchio as EV1 (red stripes) and Mike Hopkins as EV2 (no stripes) leaving the airlock during US EVA-24 (...
33
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1answer
5k views

Laundry on the ISS

How is the matter of fresh clothes managed on ISS? Is there a local washing machine or are fresh clothes delivered and dirty ones burned with trash on delivery craft reentry? How long do astronauts ...
32
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2answers
5k views

ISS Structural Integrity

The ISS occasionally fires thrusters to correct orbit and uses reaction control wheels to adjust attitude. It also experiences various external forces - tidal, aerodynamic, etc. From the outside, it ...
32
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1answer
4k views

Why does the ISS rotate exactly once per orbit?

Looking at the HDEV experiment, one can see that the orientation of the ISS is always the same with respect to the Earth. This means that the ISS must rotate exactly once per orbit (like the Moon ...
31
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8answers
12k views

How can I, a high school student in Bucharest, go on to become an ISS astronaut?

I study at a High School in Bucharest, and I want to know what kind of education or subjects I need so that I can work in an International Space Station and stay there for 6 months. In the high ...
31
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8answers
5k views

How would a mousetrap for use in space work?

To the question If mice escaped on the International Space Station, could they live and thrive? both the answer and comments point out that while mice escaped from an experiment might survive a while ...
31
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3answers
8k views

Can you vacuum out the ISS by opening the door?

The International Space Station (ISS) has been occupied continuously since 2 November 2000. we know from a recent answer that it is cleaned weekly In my home when winter is over, and we are doing ...
31
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1answer
6k views

Why does the ISS have so much pressurized but uninhabitable space?

From this answer I learned that the International Space Station has over 900m3 of pressurized volume. However, the same answer points out that the inhabitable volume is under 400m3. It seems odd to me ...
31
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1answer
10k views

Do Astronauts have their appendix removed?

A recenct article on the BBC news got me wondering about Astronauts in the ISS. technically they are fewer miles from the closest hospital, but the transportation is bit more complex. Imagine that ...
30
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2answers
6k views

Why do we only use Soyuz to send humans to the ISS?

Why is Soyuz the only spacecraft that sends humans to the International Space Station and we don't use any other spacecraft?
30
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3answers
7k views

Why won't they recover the Falcon 9 from CRS-14?

According to the upcoming livestream of SpaceX CRS-14 (resupply of ISS): SpaceX will not attempt to recover Falcon 9’s first stage after launch. Why not? Wasn't that the whole point of (among ...
30
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1answer
2k views

How is the ISS equipped to deal with the outbreak of a contagion?

Suppose one of the astronauts was a carrier for a disease that did not show up in the medical testing prior to flying up to the ISS. How would the outbreak of this contagion be dealt with?
29
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3answers
5k views

Has the ISS ever not had a lifeboat?

The International Space Station typically has one or more (manned) spacecraft docked. This is obviously to ferry crew to and from the station for each of the Expeditions. The Soyuz currently fulfils ...
29
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3answers
4k views

Why is China still not invited to the ISS? (Or, why do certain countries not get invited/rejected to work on the ISS?)

I understand that U.S. Congress passed a law in 2011 barring space agency collaboration with CNSA because of concerns over "national security". I also get that China blew-up one of their own ...
29
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1answer
5k views

Have any animals that have been studied onboard the ISS come back alive?

Obviously, I mean any living organisms from the animal kingdom except humans, sent to the International Space Station (ISS) for the purpose of scientific research. I also don't mean if they did the ...
28
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4answers
10k views

Why would a box full of 1cm balls released into LEO be so scary to an engineer supporting the ISS? - (Updated)

update March 2018: I just saw this in Buzzfeed (Google sent me there, I don't normally read it): Rich People Will Soon Be Able To Buy Fake Meteor Showers On Demand. It seems this might happen in 2018. ...
28
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2answers
8k views

Will the ISS need more docking ports?

Currently the ISS has two basic segments, the Russian and US sides. The Russian side has 4 docking ports. Usually occupied by 2 Soyuz, 1 or 2 Progress freighters or an ESA ATV vehicle. You can see ...
27
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4answers
17k views

What time zone is used on ISS to define a day?

What time zone is used on ISS to define when a day starts? Is it the same as mission control? Do Russian cosmonauts use a different time zone respect to European and American astronauts?
27
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1answer
11k views

What are the procedures aboard the ISS in the eventuality of a loss of a crew member?

So far, all the space exploration related events that resulted in Loss of Crew (LOC) took a complete crew, and as far as we're aware, no accident in space that resulted in loss of human life, be it ...