The International Space Station is a science research laboratory 400km (250 miles) above the Earth’s surface. It has been specially designed for scientists to be able to live there for several months at a time, doing experiments and learning about how things work in Space. My friend’s kids want to know what it’s like to live on the space station, so let’s find out more about life for the scientists on-board!
The International Space Station is a joint project for space scientists and engineers from the United States of America, Russia, Japan, Europe and Canada. It orbits (travels around) our planet about 15 times a day – taking just over one-and-a-half hours to complete one lap of the Earth. That means, the space station is travelling at about 17,150 miles per hour (or 5 miles per second)!
Scientists have been living on the space station since November 2000 and it has lots of things that help to make it feel like home. The ESA (European Space Agency) has made a website with lots of information about life on the space station and how much it is like life on Earth. Space scientists have to do lots of everyday things – like sleeping, exercising, eating and going to the toilet – so you can do all of these on the space station!
Because there isn’t as much gravity in Space as there is on Earth, things float about inside the space station. So eating and drinking can be a bit tricky! That’s why space scientists choose special foods that are easier to manage – things that can be squeezed out of tubes and bags so that crumbs and spills don’t damage the machines inside the space station. There is no restaurant on the space station but there is a kitchen and some of the space scientists are doing experiments about cooking!
If you want to find out more, the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) website has lots of information about what it’s like on the International Space Station and some videos of the space scientists who live there. And Major Tim Peake, who lived on the space station for 6 months, kept a record of the things he did whilst he was up there!