Virtual tours are the norm these days. Tour your country, around the world, virtual travel makes it all easy. There is one place in the universe that many people can only dream of touring – International Space Station. The habitable satellite that orbits the earth at around 400km high, is a joint program by five space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). Now you can enjoy a virtual tour of the International Space Station with ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Drew Morgan.
The tour starts with Drew in the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft that is docked to the ISS. The duo goes on to describe the docking station. Starting from the Russian segment, Drew and Luca takes us through their sleeping stations, research station, and storage areas. At the Russian segment is the Zarya, the first segment of the station launched in 1998, and Zvezda, the central command post. During emergency situations, the crew gathers at the Central Post to figure out how to control the situation. As he passes through narrow passages, Luca jokingly tells us, “There’s not a lot of space in space.”
Passing from the Russian module, they move on to the US module through the Pressurized Mating Adapter. Arranged 360° are cargo transfer bags that store hygiene towels, nitrile gloves and other items they might need. At Node-1, Drew demonstrates using the portable water dispenser. He goes on to show various aspects of the daily activities of the crew and the little tricks they use like using sticky tapes to keep things on the table and prevent it from flying.
Luca goes on to explain about the Quest Airlock which the crews need to access for EVAs. You can see the spacesuits that the crew use for spacewalk. Did you know that a spacesuit weighs around 300 pounds? The weights is because they are equipped with oxygen systems, carbon dioxide removal system, heating and cooling system to regulate the body temperature as well as a mini-computer in the front.
Moving on, we can see other crew members exercising in the Tranquility node, the toilet (00:31:17) – where Drew explains its working, shower station -where they basically take a sponge bath. At 00:37:45, Luca explains about the Robotics Station for Canadarm2. There is also an exercise bike here. The astronauts need to do a lot of exercises because they lose bone density and muscle mass in space in the absence of gravity.
At Node-2, Drew introduces the crew’s sleeping quarters – one on either side, one on the roof and on the floor. It doesn’t matter if your sleeping quarter is on the roof or on the sides- since your reference changes as you turn. This space, like other areas in the space station, is also a very confined space.
All the stuff that is to be sent back to earth including science cargo, hardware are loaded on to Dragon and recovered from the Pacific Ocean. The European arm of the ISS is named Columbus (00:46:35). Research on human physiology takes place here. Luca also shows us the Greenhouse, where they grow salads. Similar experiments are being conducted to gather information on what facilities are needed to go beyond the planetary system.
At Kibo (00:49:53 ), the Japanese arm, are equipments and instruments to conduct cell biology experiments. The Japanese module also has a robotic station. Don’t miss the Space Station fly through, where Drew and Luca move from one end of the ISS to the other. Join them as they give us a 360° view of Earth at the Cupola (Observation Deck). The Cupola sticks down below the Space Station affording an incredible view of the planet from up above. We can also catch a glimpse of the robotic arm from the Cupola.
You can find the specific modules or features at:
- 00:00:06 Soyuz MS-15
- 00:04:53 Zvezda service module
- 00:08:01 Pirs
- 00:09:27 Mini Research Module-2 (MRM-2)
- 00:10:30 Soyuz MS-13
- 00:11:44 MRM-2
- 00:12:27 Progress
- 00:13:19 Functional Cargo Block (FGB)
- 00:07:12 Mini Research Module-1 (MRM-1)
- 00:19:36 Pressurised Mating Adapter
- 00:20:42 Node-1 Unity
- 00:22:46 Northrup Grumman Cygnus-12
- 00:27:32 Quest Airlock
- 00:29:27 Node-3 Tranquility
- 00:30:58 T2 Treadmill
- 00:31:17 Toilet
- 00:33:38 Cupola at night
- 00:34:11 Permanent Multipurpose Module Leonardo (PMM)
- 00:36:42 US laboratory Destiny
- 00:37:45 Robotics station for Canadarm2
- 00:38:40 Exercise bike
- 00:42:21 Node-2 Harmony
- 00:44:40 Space X Dragon
- 00:46:35 European laboratory Columbus
- 00:49:53 Japanese laboratory Kibo
- 00:56:17 Space Station fly through
- 01:00:43 Cupola daytime
- 01:04:27 Goodbye from Cupola