Every evening, a radio message is sent from Earth to the space station with the flight program for the day for each crew member. The program details, minute by minute, the task required of the cosmonaut and the amount of time that should be spent. Most of the day is dedicated to station maintenance, scientific experiments, and exercise. In the evening, each cosmonaut is required to carefully study the program in order to understand their plans for the next day and prepare everything needed for work.
The toilet on the space station is called a “waste collection system”. It works like a combination of a toilet and a vacuum cleaner. “Solid waste”, as it is called in the system manual, is collected in a rubber bag fixed to the toilet. Pushed by the flow of air, it falls into the waste collector, which is then disposed of. However, the principle only seems simple. In fact, the toilet is a complex technical device, with a system of filters, processing mechanisms, and electronics. But using the toilet is not difficult, as long as you strictly follow all rules and are careful.
Помимо этого космонавты повседневно выполняют комплекс мероприятий: уход за кожей лица и тела, полостью рта, предотвращение потливости, обеспечение необходимых гигиенических условий для сна, использование гигиеничной одежды и обуви.
Значение этих процедур возрастает по мере увеличения продолжительности полета: если на первых космических кораблях космонавты применяли только пропитанные моющими средствами гигиенические салфетки для ухода за лицом и кистями рук, то при полетах большей продолжительности предусмотрен более широкий спектр таких средств (например, разработаны специальные пасты для ухода за полостью рта и зубами, являющиеся одновременно профилактикой и лекарством, и т. п.).
If there are three people on board, then it’s simple: one astronaut is the barber, the other is the client, and the third performs the essential function of moving the vacuum hose around the client’s head, carefully collecting the bits of hair. If there are two people, then the process is more difficult. In general, however, the vacuum cleaner is used for its normal purpose of cleaning the living space.
Space food is the safest and most natural food. Chemical additives are not used, and all products must pass numerous tests before being used in orbit. When creating the crew’s diet, doctors, nutritionists and microbiologists take into account all the aspects of orbital flight: zero-gravity, g-forces, and long-term isolation, as well as the tastes of cosmonauts.
In order to successfully perform work in space, the crew must train regularly, improve their immunity, and strengthen their muscles while still on the ground before the flight.
In space, the health of the cosmonauts is monitored on a regular basis. From time to time each cosmonaut is required to attach various sensors to their body and connect them to the “medical cabinet”. Data is then transmitted by telemetry to the Earth. Doctors are interested primarily in pulse, breathing, blood pressure, electrocardiograms, and brain activity. From these data, it can be determined whether the cosmonauts are healthy and whether they are calm or agitated; it’s also possible obtain detailed information on the functioning of all bodily systems.
To perform medical diagnoses in space without assistance is not easy.
Under the conditions of a long space flight, small deviations of health by earthly standards can become a serious problem. For example, scratches and abrasions that we do not pay attention to on Earth take much longer to heal, and it is difficult to stop the bleeding on even the smallest wound. Immune system is greatly compromised and remains deficient upon return to Earth.
These experiments showed that weightlessness (microgravity) played a key role in various processes. A number of other factors, such as corpuscular ray from the sun, radio bursts on the Sun, solar wind parameters, disturbances in the ionosphere and magnetosphere, were generally considered to be negligible or shielded by the spacecraft during the experiments. However, it seems to be essential to consider the impact of these factors and their possible effects of their nonlinear interaction. Therefore, methodology of single-factor experiments has been replaced by comprehensive studies that take into account the influence of several factors combined, as well as experiment automation techniques and methods for designing multifactor experiments. Currently, the ISS carries out a large and complex scientific program.
From 2002 to 2011, a series of sixteen “Plant” experiments were conducted on board the Russian segment of the International Space Station, in the Lada space greenhouse.
The purpose of this experiment was to determine the usefulness of plants grown in space. In addition, the fresh vegetables not only contributed to the vital human needs, health, and performance of the crew, but also improved their physical and mental condition.
This experiment aimed at answering four questions:
• whether eating foods grown locally in the space environment has a positive effect on health
• what kinds of microorganisms appear on the plants, and what can be done to reduce the risk of growth of microorganisms in the hardware immediately before launch
• how to clean and process plants after harvest
• how to optimize production relative to the resources required for cultivation
A coulomb or plasma crystal is a system in which particles exposed to a strong electrostatic field are arranged in space in a certain way. They form an ordered structure, in which the particles are located at the nodes, like atoms in the crystal lattice. By varying the parameters of the discharge, one can affect the shape of the particle cloud and even observe the transition from the crystalline state to a liquid and then a gas. Study of plasma crystals on Earth is prevented by gravity; it is therefore more appropriate to examine them in space.
Of considerable interest are the experiments on the deposition of thin-film metallic coatings on construction materials by thermal evaporation and condensation in weightless conditions and the vacuum of space. These were conducted outside the station with the help of the Isparitel unit (1979–84, Salyut-6 space station). The electrons emitted by an electron gun bombard the molten metal, which is vaporized and deposited on the plate.
By using the Ispraitel unit, more than 200 experiments were carried out in the vacuum with gold, silver, copper, and various alloys on glass, plastic, and metal surfaces. The development of this technology will help restore the luster to the mirror lenses and reflectors without returning them to Earth, and therefore without spending time and money on transportation.
Opposite the bed are a small mirror, fan, lamp, and computer; this is also where cosmonauts put pictures of their loved ones, books, and some important papers. There’s a small porthole, so you can look through the “window” at bedtime.
The sleeping bag is attached to the brackets on the panels. Six attachment points are sufficient; if there are any fewer, the bag will hang loosely. However, even with a person inside, the bag can still move about, since it is impossible to achieve a snug fit in weightlessness. For a person to feel most comfortable (and feel the pressure of their body on the bed), three rubber belts, attached with carabiners to loops on the panels, are additionally strapped over the sleeping bag.
Curator - Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics