Skip Discover Education Main Navigation
Skip Discover Education Main Navigation


What will astronauts do for fun? They?ll read books, play cards, listen to music, send e-mail to their friends and family. They might just sit and look out the window. Doesn?t sound very exciting? What if the view out your window was planet Earth, with a sunset or sunrise every 45 minutes?

Check outthe initial living quarters on the space station
Download the free IPIX plug-in.

Life in space will certainly take some getting used to! But the space station has been designed to keep the astronauts as comfortable as possible?the modules are roomy, bright, and kept at a constant 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It?s important the crew members are comfortable because they?ll be busy aboard the station. In a typical workday, crew members will spend 14 hours working and exercising, 1.5 hours preparing and eating meals, and 8.5 hours sleeping. Here are some other fun facts about life aboard the station:
Come mealtime, astronauts will have a special dining galley. Space food just keeps getting better?and more like food we enjoy here on Earth. In early space missions, astronauts could eat only freeze-dried food that didn?t require any preparation. But the space station is equipped with water, microwave ovens, and refrigerators, allowing the folks on board to eat more "normal" types of food, including fruit, vegetables, and ice cream!
Each crew member has a private room, or ?galley.? With no gravity, they?ll need to be anchored down in the their beds so they don?t float away! That might sound like a strange way to catch some z?s, but astronauts from past space missions report that sleeping in space is actually pretty great!
You might not think it, but exercise is even more important on the station than it is on Earth. In microgravity, muscles and bones atrophy?and this muscle and bone loss can be dangerous back on Earth. To fight this, astronauts on the station will exercise on bikes, rowing machines, and other equipment about two hours every day.
Astronauts will have to wear special space suits while traveling aboard the U.S. shuttle or Russian rockets. But once they?re safe inside the space station, crew members can wear regular clothing. Of course, a specially designed, pressurized space suit is required for space walks. It has to withstand flying debris and protect the astronauts from dramatic temperature changes. It can range from 120 degrees below Fahrenheit in the shadow of the station to 250 degrees in the hot sun.
Personal Hygiene
Simple tasks like brushing your teeth can be challenging in a weightless environment. A little water doesn?t trickle in a stream?it suspends in a bubble! Astronauts will use a freshwater hose to take showers, shampoo, and rinse off?then a second vacuum hose to suction off the dirty water. And how do you go to the bathroom in space? With a special "air toilet" that uses flowing air instead of water to dispose of waste.


Home|Mission Basics|Putting It Together|Speak Out
You Said It|Teacher Tips|Resources