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16 Sunrises and Sunsets a Day: What You Need to Know About the International Space Station, Home of UAE Astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi for Next 6 Months – News


Photo: MBR Space Center/Twitter

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published: Sunday, February 26, 2023 at 7:26 pm

Last updated: Sunday, February 26, 2023 at 7:40 pm

Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi, the first Arab on a long-duration space mission, will spend six months aboard the International Space Station, an orbiting laboratory 400 kilometers from Earth.

The International Space Station orbits the Earth at 5 miles or 8 kilometers per second or 28,000 kilometers per hour, one orbit every 90 minutes or 16 times in 24 hours, which equates to 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets in a day.

From an altitude of 400 kilometers, Earth’s gravity on the ISS is only about 90% of Earth’s surface gravity, resulting in microgravity (or very little gravity), resulting in apparent weightlessness. This is what makes the International Space Station a unique laboratory environment.

AlNeyadi and his crew (NASA Mission Commander Stephen Bowen, NASA Pilot Warren Hoberg and Roscosmos Cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev) will study how microgravity and other space effects cope. impact on many aspects of human life. Their experiments will advance our understanding of the life and physical sciences, including health and medicine, biotechnology, vaccine development, chemical and physical processes, Earth observation, disaster relief, climate change monitoring and more.

But before we go any further into the research they will be used by scientists, engineers, and space explorers, let’s ask some more “mundane” questions about how astronauts live, eat, sleep, rest, and even go to the bathroom or tie their shoes space.

How big is the International Space Station?

Launched on November 20, 1998, the International Space Station measures 357 feet or 108 meters end-to-end, about the size of an American football field. Its mass is close to 1 million pounds. Its solar panel wingspan (356 feet, 109 meters) is longer than that of the world’s largest airliner, the Airbus A380 (262 feet, 80 meters).

It has six sleeping areas, two bathrooms, a gym and a bay window with 360-degree views called the Cupola. AlNeyadi said this is one of the things that excites him about the ISS. He shared: “I want to go there with my camera. I want to capture that moment looking back at the Earth. I want to see everything. I want to see my hometown – UAE; Al Ain, my hometown. I want to see my Places visited and loved; for example, where I studied in the UK and Australia; oceans, forests, mountains are on the list – seeing the earth and the majestic vistas; that layer of atmosphere that protects everything we know, I think it was a very profound experience.”

How does the day start and what do they eat?

While stationed on the International Space Station, astronauts witness 16 sunrises and sunsets per day, but astronauts follow the same typical procedures as they do on Earth. Hazzaa AlMansoori, the first Emirati astronaut to go to the International Space Station on an eight-day space mission in September 2019, said his routine started at 6am GMT (or 10am UAE time) It started when he and the crew received daily schedules from the ground station.

He shared: “We then shower and take care of our personal hygiene. Astronauts are limited to a specific number of calories for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This number is calculated at the ground station, and the food is sent to the ISS accordingly. But there’s always a surplus of food.”

Emirati dishes and dates in space

Aside from dates, AlNeyadi has yet to share his menu aboard the ISS, but there will certainly be traditional Emirati fare, as on AlMansoori’s trip.

Three traditional dishes from the UAE were developed for AlMansoori, including madrooba (chicken oatmeal), saloona (stew) and balaleet (vermicelli egg omelet). Ready-to-eat balaleet and saloona are served in aluminum cans and madrooba in tubes.

AlMansoori also explained how he eats: “Everything is floating (on the International Space Station). The bread comes in a pack of beige cubes and I have to eat it in one bite. The cutlery is fixed on the table and everything has to be sealed to ensure the food Not floating around.”

But there’s actually an oven that astronauts bake cookies on the International Space Station all the time. However, they mostly consume dehydrated food. They add water or heat and the food is ready.

Since AlNeyadi will Spend the holy month of Ramadan in spacehe said he would definitely share the date with his ISS crew, something his mission commander specifically requested.

Jujitsu and Exercise

The physical fitness of the astronauts is very good, but in order to reduce the loss of muscle and bone mass in the microgravity environment, the astronauts will carry out additional physical activities and exercise at least two hours a day.

AlNeyadi said he would practice in his jiu jitsu kimono His martial arts moves while cruising in space. Keeping your body in tip-top shape is crucial for space missions, and Al Neyadi, who has been training jiu-jitsu for nearly a decade, says it keeps him in tip-top shape during his hectic training schedule.

toilet break

Toilets on the International Space Station have several grab bars and footholds so that astronauts don’t drift when they “use the toilet.” When they urinate sitting or standing, they use a funnel and a hose that’s held tightly to their body (to make sure nothing leaks). There’s also a toilet seat with a lid (like the one on Earth, but smaller) for defecation.

The ISS toilet is a specially designed vacuum toilet. In an earlier video, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti explained how the fans create suction to avoid odors and floating debris. When a spacecraft leaves the space station, solid waste is stored and burned in a cargo ferry. Astronaut urine is recycled – turned into drinking water.

And since water is heavy and storage space is very limited, one thing AlNeyadi might miss is a toilet bidet or shatafa.

“floating” sleep

Astronauts sleep in special sleeping bags secured to the crew quarters. AlMansoori shared his experience: “Some astronauts like to sleep against the wall in the International Space Station, others sleep while floating. As for me, I like to sleep floating.”

In microgravity, you never know which way is up or down, so astronauts can sleep facing almost any direction. Good thing eye masks and earplugs can dampen the noise from the air conditioner and other machinery.

tie shoelaces

For Al Mansoori, tEnglish shoe lacing was one of the challenging parts initial. He said: “I told AlNeyadi the trick and hoped he would follow suit. I told him, ‘Don’t wrap your legs around the rails and don’t try to wrap your body around anything. So just let go and float. , do it while floating.”

call from space

AlNeyadi and his family could not immediately make a call because the International Space Station is orbiting and the satellite may be out of range. But they can communicate; they must notify mission control to arrange a satellite call. There are internet-enabled laptops aboard the International Space Station, and astronauts can make voice or video calls with loved ones.


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