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Astronauts Open ISS Station Room

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the now-to-hang-curtains dept.

NASA 90

mikesd81 notes an ABC News report that astronauts aboard the ISS have opened the new station room. Commander Peggy Whitson and astronaut Paolo Nespoli delayed their lunch so the event could happen before the station's orbit temporarily blocked the ability to send a video downlink to Mission Control. From the article: "Nespoli... joined Discovery's crew to personally deliver the Italian-made pressurized chamber... Astronauts added the school bus-sized room called Harmony during a 6.5-hour spacewalk Friday, using a robotic arm to lift it from the shuttle's cargo bay and install it on the station. The compartment will serve as the docking port and nerve center for European and Japanese laboratories that will be delivered on the next three shuttle flights. It also will be a power and thermal distribution center, providing air, electricity, water and other systems for the space station. Racks of computer and electronic equipment are already inside the cylinder, which will double as a living space for the crew... The astronauts will have to undo more than 700 bolts [which held down the equipment during flight] to free up the equipment."

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90 comments

700 bolts! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21144181)

WTF are they using manual labor for everything ? just get explosive bolts and use charges to cut em lose. or electromagnets and cut the power to release equipment. 10 seconds and youre done.

Re:700 bolts! (2, Insightful)

Airw0lf (795770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144209)

WTF are they using manual labor for everything ? just get explosive bolts and use charges to cut em lose. or electromagnets and cut the power to release equipment. 10 seconds and youre done.
They may have issues with explosive bolts in oxygenated environments... As for electromagnets, I think you would need power to keep them going on the way up. The whole point of bolting the equipment would have been to prevent them from flying all over the place during launch/orbit.

Re:700 bolts! (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21147123)

Yeah, exploding bolts in space. That would be short lived fun.

Re:700 bolts! (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 6 years ago | (#21147913)

The point of the bolts is to stiffen the structure against the several G's of launch and the vibrations as well. In low-G things don't need to be very strong but against the stresses of liftoff it needs stiffening or it would shake apart or collapse.

Re:700 bolts! (5, Funny)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144213)

Yes, because its a great idea to use explosives in a pressurized environment in the middle or space. And they can just plug electromagnets into the giant extension cord to Cape Canaveral. Idiot.

Re:700 bolts! (0, Offtopic)

Sergeant Pepper (1098225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144229)

That made me laugh harder than I have in a while.

Thank you.

Re:700 bolts! (0)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144819)

Why did people mod this offtopic? It's just a guy thanking another for a pretty funny comment.. mods, please fix this idiocy and mod him insightful, I'm out of points.

Re:700 bolts! (1, Insightful)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21146967)

And now the super funny moderator-sans-grey-matter mods me down. Lets see how long we can play this game, asshole. Parent has been modded up thankfully. I love slashdot.

Re:700 bolts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21144791)

Humbug! Nothing a piece of gum and a roll of ducttape can't fix. If things really get dicey they can just park the station on the moon and go grease-lightning on it with powerdrills and welding torches.

Re:700 bolts! (5, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144241)

Yes, they could (although, personally, explosive bolts and electromagnetically-held ROOMS of equipment would not be on any spaceship I would ever fly on... just imagine the potential for going wrong!)

But, it'll probably take a handful of man-hours and, to be honest, space agencies have trouble finding astronauts enough stuff to do to keep them busy anyway especially on "space stations" as opposed to shuttles, orbits, missions etc. Plus, you'd have to manually check everything at some point anyway - might as well be while you're "unpacking" your new space-station room (remember to keep the box it came in in case you have to send it back!).

Plus, one bolt in the wrong place, coming loose or not coming off nicely and you're in deep trouble and hardly able to pop down the local DIY store to pick up a replacement.

Astronaut missions are always rigourously scheduled and planned. You'll probably find these people have an actual list of every bolt to be taken off in what order with what tool and what to check before and after every one. Similarly, when "just" tightening a bolt, they would have data on torque, etc. which they would follow to the letter.

Re:700 bolts! (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144555)

to be honest, space agencies have trouble finding astronauts enough stuff to do to keep them busy anyway

Unfortunately, no. The ISS requires far too much hands-on maintenance.

not too much... (4, Informative)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144785)

"Unfortunately, no. The ISS requires far too much hands-on maintenance."

I happened to listen to live activity today. The pilot, a shuttle first-timer, kept asking if the stop-go incrementing counter on the fuel-cell monitoring software was awry - he wouldn't let it go, even after Houston told him they had spent enough time on what was obviously a non-issue and to move on. He kept making suggestions and they waited patiently as he chatted and rambled. It was clear they were giving into his first-time fever, just to placate him, but still, talk about a time-waster.

In addition, being as the shuttle commander and ISS in-charge are both women, making for yet another space first (?), the two were so enamored with the idea, they miscalculated the time before the big public TV presentation of the new 'Harmony' module, thinking they didn't have time to spruce their hair for the cameras - Houston calmly told them no issue, the circulation fans had been adjusted from the ground to keep everything on schedule - plenty of time.

The shuttle commandette told the ground-control guy "thanks for having our back on that one!" ...ground control was in control - not the nitrogen-breathing, image conscious, time wasting, hubris-fevered staff-monkeys in the air.

So please, sell that 'too much hands-on maintenance' white-wash someplace else, thanks :)

Re:not too much... (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21145067)

The current maintenance load for the ISS is about 2.5 people. [nap.edu] The Soyuz capsule used for emergency crew return limits the ISS population to 3, except when another spacecraft is docked. So most of the crew time is tied up just keeping the thing working. The original concept was to have a permanent crew of 6, maybe more, and a "crew return vehicle", but that was abandoned around 2002.

Re:not too much... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21145127)

The science load has increased over the past few years (not just overall science, but the stuff the astronauts are doing directly). I suspect that they've managed to lower the construction and maintenance load a bit and have been able to redirect some of the excess time to science projects. So maybe they still need 2.5 people, but those 2.5 people don't need to work as much.

Re:not too much... (4, Informative)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21145303)

"...most of the crew time is tied up just keeping the thing working. "

From your link: "NASA is currently studying this issue, and few details are available at this time." ...making your statement an assumption based on predictions - aka anecdotal, versus recorded/live dialog that occurred today.

In addition, I'm chagrined you insist on ignoring the role of ground crews and autonomous systems (Soyuz's ability to dock without manual control from the ground or the ISS). You seem to have this Machiavellian bent that puts responsibility for the entire ISS operation on airborne crews. Yeah...that's a sober position.

Need more? How about a log from Monday, 20 November 2006 (Day 324):
    • 14:30-15:34 - ESA astronaut and ISS Flight Engineer no. 2 Thomas Reiter, together with his two colleagues, American astronaut and ISS Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Russian cosmonaut and ISS Flight Engineer no. 1 Mikhail Tyurin, will be woken up at 14:30. This time will be dedicated to the Station inspection, the morning toilet and breakfast.

    • 15:34-15:49 - Reiter will carry out a radio contact with the AMATEUR RADIO ON ISS (ARISS) equipment. ARISS, is an international working group of volunteering amateur radio operators specialised in satellite telecommunications, aimed at building, developing and maintaining the amateur radio activity, using the radio station on board the ISS. During this session the ESA astronaut will execute a live radio contact with the winning classes of the ESA/DLR competition "Ich will's wISSen" at the Landesmuseum für Technik und Arbeit in Mannheim, Germany.

    • 15:49-16:15 - Thomas Reiter will have this time to complete his morning post-sleep activities.

    • 16:15-19:30 - Following an unallocated period of time, Reiter will exercise for a period of 90 minutes on the Resistive Exercise Device (RED), which is located in the 'ceiling' of Node 1. The exercise equipment is made up of resistance chords, which allow crew members to exercise and tone various muscles in the legs and in the upper body. The resistance can be set in increments of 2.3 kg up to a maximum of the force equivalent to lifting on Earth a mass of 195 kg.

    • 19:30-21:30 - The ISS crew will participate in a two-hour review with specialists on the ground to discuss issues related to the on-board timeline of upcoming activities.

    • 21:30-22:30 - The Expedition 14 crew will meet in the Russian Zvezda module for a one-hour midday meal.

    • 22:30-23:30 - Reiter will install a remote sensing unit, which has a small transmitter antenna to radio measurements to a Space Station laptop computer for recording on a PMCIA card to be downlinked later to the ground. The remote sensing unit forms part of the internal wireless instrumentation system (IWIS), which records structural dynamics of the station. The IWIS utilizes sets of accelerometers and strain gauges, which are supported by a network control unit and their own remote sensing units.

    • 23:30-00:10 - Following a period of unallocated time, Reiter and his ISS colleagues will participate in a 20-minute conference with ISS programme managers on the ground.

    • 00:10-00:40 - Thomas Reiter will perform 30 minutes of routine maintenance on the Russian Zvezda life support system.

    • 00:40-02:45 - Following a period of unallocated time, Reiter will perform 60 minutes of physical exercise on the Treadmill with Vibration Isolation System (TVIS). This equipment is located in the floor of the Russian Zvezda module close to the galley table. The crew member is held down by a shoulder harness, and the complete system is suspended to prevent the transfer of vibrations to the rest of the Station while in use. Additionally, the system is stabilised by a momentum wheel. It is operable in an active (powered) or passive (unpowered) mode.

    • 02:45-03:15 - Reiter will have 30 minutes to dedicate to preparatory work for the upcoming evening conference and the following day's activities, including daily plan reviews and report preparation.

    • 03:15-03:30 - Lopez-Alegria, Tyurin and Reiter will participate in the evening 15-minute planning conference with the mission control centres in Houston, Huntsville and Moscow.

    • 03:30-04:00 - Thomas Reiter will carry out preparatory work for the following day's activities.

    • 04:00-06:00 - The ISS crew will have completed their daily work activities and can use this time for having dinner together and various leisure activities.

    • 06:00-14:30 - Sleep for 8.5 hours.

      =====
      I see no more than 90 minutes, on day 324, spent on what seems to be ISS maintanance. Note the use of the word 'unallocated' three times during this period alone. Also note 'exercise' & 'leisure activities'...sooo busy back then - when did they sleep...oh, wait - 8.5 hours, 06:00-14:30.

Re:not too much... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21155373)

A very loose definition of maintenance might be everything they must do, including planning, exercise, and PR that's not scientific research. How many experiments are getting done up there? I don't see any in this example. (I don't think studying the station itself should count, or not for much anyway.)

Re:not too much... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21146729)

I imagine you would do better, wouldn't you, burger flipper?

You must be awfully mad at the astronauts on TV: they got their grades, you didn't.

They have the media attention, good paychecks, a line of work they love. While you're stuck with a low-income menial job that will be all that you'll ever have, because you are stupid.

Do you masturbate in your own feces while dissing better people on slashdot? I hope you wash your hands afterwards, burger flipper.

Re:not too much... (1)

G Fab (1142219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21150225)

he's the one with the valid criticisms, even if they are ultimately wrong.

You're the crazy dude talking about things more disgusting than I'd even imagine... and I can imagine a lot.

Why do we even have a manned space program? Imagine how much more we'd know if all that budget went to the unmanned programs that actually discover things on other planets.

Anyway, you're the loon with the anger problem. Might want to check that out.

Re:700 bolts! (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144263)

Explosive bolts indoors in zero G don't seem like the best of ideas. Loose objects are enough of a PITA in orbit as it is.

Electromagnets require power. I would imagine during launch they want to have as little powered as possible in case things go wrong. They would also need to consider what would happen if the power supply to the electromagnets failed.

Re:700 bolts! (2, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144651)

Beyond the obvious safety and power issues mentioned by other posters, may I mention that, as a general rule of thumb in engineering, the more complex your device/system, the more likely it is to break? And my own corollary to that: and the worse it will be when it DOES break.

Re:700 bolts! (1)

Kizor (863772) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144733)

And - to paraphrase someone wiser than me - it's usually* better to build things that seldom break, and do so gently, than it is to build things that cannot possibly break. That's because when one of the latter does break, it's painful and near impossible to fix.

It's been mentioned above that the ISS crew is not short of time to spend, either. Anyone know how they recreate? Does space affect the things you read? Does anyone fulfill the stereotype and spend hours Earthwatching?

---
*: I said "usually" about space exploration. You're allowed to hurt me now.

Re:700 bolts! (2, Informative)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 6 years ago | (#21145729)

Electromagnets aren't at all a plausible solution because they would have to be powered on while in flight to the station. The explosive bolts are a HUGE safety risk. We're talking 700 explosions in extremely close proximity to computer equipment, doesn't take a scientist to figure out that's not a good idea. When you add the fact that you're in an enclosed space and furthermore that you're orbiting the earth, mentioning the idea of explosive bolts would probably get you fired had you been on the design team for this. Also, they'd have to clean up the mess after everything explodes anyway, which would probably take as much time as just unfastening all these bolts.

Re:700 bolts! (1)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 6 years ago | (#21146045)

The astronauts will have to undo more than 700 bolts [which held down the equipment during flight] to free up the equipment.
There's got to be an easier way... I mean bubble wrap? Or a quick release mechanism... Better than unscrewing 700 bolts. Geez 4 would do!

OCD much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21149107)

It's not that big of a deal, you just unbolt stuff as you need it. They have to open 700 cans of food too - maybe they should get exploding cans... :p

I would be happy with that, it probably takes an act of congress to ship 700 fasteners into orbit but if they come with something else no one notices. Now they have bolts and nuts in case they need them.

Re:700 bolts! (1)

Strange Quark Star (1157447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21147337)

just get explosive bolts and use charges to cut em lose. or electromagnets and cut the power to release equipment. 10 seconds and youre done.
Or they could have just used 100 gross self-sealing stem bolts!

A whole lot of bolts... (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144189)

With 700 extra bolts, I'm sure someone will find them useful [penny-arcade.com] in space.

Explanation please...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21144361)

I don't get it. :( (The Penny Arcade comic.)

Re:Explanation please...? (2, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21145263)

Ratchet has to collect bolts. He has insufficient bolts and then begins to eye Clank. It's basically the old idea of two people marooned on an island or lost in the desert and the other person starts to look like food or drink. Although in this case, Clank really would contain what Ratchet needs. I've never played the game - so sorry if I'm wrong. But combined with the post here- I think I've got it right.

Re:A whole lot of bolts... (1, Funny)

Reaperducer (871695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144449)

Nespoli... joined Discovery's crew to personally deliver the Italian-made pressurized chamber.
Italian-made technology? Better hope it doesn't have internet access [slashdot.org] .

Re:A whole lot of bolts... (1)

dbolger (161340) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144543)

Well at least they have relevant experience for the task. I wonder if any of the crew served on that mission a few years back, studying the effects of weightlessness on tiny screws [snpp.com] .

Lift? (1, Interesting)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144283)

Astronauts added the school bus-sized room called Harmony during a 6.5-hour spacewalk Friday, using a robotic arm to lift it from the shuttle's cargo bay and install it on the station.

Uh... I don't think anything was "lifted". In zero G, there is no up and down, AFAIK.

Re:Lift? (4, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144301)

except they are not at zero G they are in microgravity.

Re:Lift? (1)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144319)

except they are not at zero G they are in microgravity.

Very little difference, IMO.

Re:Lift? (3, Informative)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144383)

except they are not at zero G they are in microgravity.

Very little difference, IMO.

I guess you'd describe a plane in freefall as having no up and no down either then. The Earth's gravity is only about 10% weaker on the ISS than it is on the surface.

Re:Lift? (1)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144511)

I guess you'd describe a plane in freefall as having no up and no down either then. The Earth's gravity is only about 10% weaker on the ISS than it is on the surface.

I am not sure what your point is but that is not what microgravity means, IMO. Microgravity in orbit is the gravitational attractions between the orbiting masses. It's very minute, to the point of being imperceptible to the astronauts. You need highly sensitive instruments to measure it.

Re:Lift? (1)

BungaDunga (801391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21146129)

"# Objects left alone will "fall" toward the densest part of the spacecraft. When they eventually touch the spacecraft, they will stop moving and feel weight." - Wikipedia
Microgravity means, apparently, perceived weightlessness- ie, no contact force pushing against you. You can jump and feel 'microgravity'.

Re:Lift? (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21152513)

I guess you'd describe a plane in freefall as having no up and no down either then. The Earth's gravity is only about 10% weaker on the ISS than it is on the surface. I am not sure what your point is but that is not what microgravity means, IMO.
You claimed there is no up or down on the ISS because it is in "zero gravity". My point is that the weightlessness felt by people on the ISS is because it is in constant freefall, not because it doesn't feel the Earth's gravity. If you concede that a plane in freefall still has an up and a down then you must concede that the ISS does too.

Re:Lift? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154915)

A few things here. First, when a plane is in free fall, it doesn't have a natural up as determined by acceleration at that point. If you spun someone around, blindfolded, they probably wouldn't be able to recall which way "ground" used to be (unless they have a good sense of direction). There's no acceleration cues (well aside from jostling and imperceptible gravity gradients). Second, immediately before and after this period of freefall is a period of high G acceleration where down is clear. finally, they are flying in a craft that has a well defined down because of the way it is built. So of course, you can see while in the plane whether you are up or down.

In a space station, there's no clearly defined up any more. Since the station orbits Earth every 90 minutes, the Earth as seen from the station is rotating around the station every 90 minutes. The only thing that moves is the solar panels and they track the Sun.

In summary, anything in freefall whether it be a plane or a satellite, does not have a natural "up" as determined by acceleration.

Re:Lift? (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21206789)

In summary, anything in freefall whether it be a plane or a satellite, does not have a natural "up" as determined by acceleration.

Who said anything about "up" being determined by acceleration? Spin a blindfolded person around and they probably wouldn't be able to recall which way north is either, but that doesn't mean that north doesn't exist when you're not holding a compass. Astronauts on the ISS probably define "up" in terms of the orientation of the ISS. That is a perfectly valid definition for "up" - it doesn't matter at all that they can't instinctively feel which way "up" is.

Re:Lift? Only 10% less than here? (1)

aqk (844307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154591)

REALLY? Only 10% less?
Hmmnn.. then howcum they always seem to be "floating"?


Re:Lift? (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144407)

That's in your opinion, as you said. Up and down is in the opinion of those "lifting", and in this article their opinion counts, not yours.

Re:Lift? (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144475)

Up, in the normal human reference frame, is away from the most powerful source of gravity detectable. Seeing as how the ISS isn't far enough away to be in true microgravity (less than 50% difference) there's very little ground to stand upon if you're claiming there's no detectable source of gravity nearby, about as much as claiming that there's no Up in an elevator. Just thought I'd point that out, physics does allow you to have an opinion about up and down, but common sense doesn't and in this case common sense still applies.

Re:Lift? (3, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144371)

and they're at almost 1 g, force of gravity is just about as strong where the ISS is as it is on the surface of the earth. they're just falling around the earth is all.

Re:Lift? (2, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144553)

While the fact that they still in Earth's gravity well is pertinent to the "up and down in space" discussion, is it correct to say that they are in almost 1G? This is an honest question as my understanding of Physics is all self taught. As I understand things, there is no observable difference between being in Zero G and perpetually falling, at least from the perspective of the astronauts.

Re:Lift? (2, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144681)

that would be true in a uniform gravitational field, but around a planet there's a gradient to the acceleration due to gravity and thus a net small acceleration on object (we're back to microgravity)

Re:Lift? (1)

starman97 (29863) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144929)

How much as a percentage of the normal force of gravity as felt by those of us on the surface of the earth.

0.0001% or less?

Re:Lift? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148607)

That's absolute bollocks. This isn't a relativity question. It's newtonian dynamics in a rotating frame.

The net acceleration on these guys is not small. It is exactly equal to the gravitational pull on them, which is almost m*g. In the rotating frame, that force drops out. The omega x omega x r term (v^2/r) cancels out gravity (G*m_e/r). The only thing left is Coriolis, which is zero for a body that's not moving in the rotating frame.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotating_reference_frame#Relation_between_accelerations_in_the_two_frames [wikipedia.org]

Re:Lift? (1)

DoktorFaust (564453) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148883)

I don't either of those claims you made are true.
  1. This can be interpreted just fine using General Relativity. If you ignore the small effects tidal forces and atmospheric drag of this case, there is no way to distinguish between zero gravity and being in free fall.... that's Einstein's strong equivalence principal.
  2. According to us as observers in the rotating reference frame (earth) the ISS experiences both centrifugal AND the coriolis force. You're right that to us it appears that the centrifugal force cancels gravity. But it's simply not true that the Coriolis force is zero. That's why the ISS appears to turn to the right in the northern hemisphere, cross the equator, then turn to the left in the southern hemisphere.

Re:Lift? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21159527)

ignore the small effect / tidal forces??!! that's the whole point, they're there and that's why a person *can* distinguish being on planet earth (g field from a nearly-pointlike center of mass, radial vectors) from being in an elevator (g field of perpendicular vectors) at 1g, and why there is distinguishing being weightless and being in microgravity!

Re:Lift? (1)

DoktorFaust (564453) | more than 5 years ago | (#21167573)

Are you kidding? A person can absolutely not distinguish between 'microgravity' and 'zero-gravity' on the space station. There are tidal effects, yes, they can be measured, yes, they do matter for precision experiments, yes, but a person can absolutely not tell the difference when on the space station. Microgravity is truly so-called because it's on the order of 10^{-6} g -- you think you perceive that?!?!

The fact that people are anal about using the term microgravity is great in that it raises awareness for what's truly going on, but on the other hand, calling someone out on the difference between weightlessness and microgravity in the context of astronaut perception is either horribly anal or in fact lacks a true understanding of the underlying concepts. Based on the comments in this thread, it was clear the latter was true.

Re:Lift? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21144939)

No, they are still falling towards the center of the Earth (as in you fall in the direction you are accelerated). The force of gravity is still directed downwards. You are correct that the force exerted on the station is close to 1g. But since there is nothing to exert a counterforce to resist their acceleration (like air or some pavement) the astronauts don't feel anything. You could experience the "zero-g" feeling in any gravitational field with non-relativistic effects if it you closed your eyes, were in a vacuum, and had not impacted the surface yet. One good example is the acceleration towards the Sun from the perspective of the Earth. Not particularly notable except during some special tidal events. Or the acceleration towards the galactic center.

Re:Lift? (0, Troll)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21145189)

That's not an interesting observation since the astronauts don't perceive the gravitational field. And sure, there is a barely measurable tidal force (the gradient of the gravitational field), but again astronauts do not perceive it directly. Finally, the killer argument to all this is the observation that the space station doesn't orient itself with respect to the Earth. The effect of the Earth's gravitational field on the orientation of the ISS is negligiable. The only thing that is deliberately moved as the station orbits around the Earth are the solar cells. And they are kept oriented towards the Sun. This means that the gravitational gradient of the Earth rotates around the astronaut as the ISS orbits. So that gradient cannot be a useful definition of "up" since it never stays put with respect to either the station and the astronaut.

Re:Lift? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21159585)

sorry but the ISS is gyrodine stabilized to keep desired rather than natural orientation

Re:Lift? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21162557)

There's nothing to be sorry about here. Gyroscope stabilized orientation is the natural orientation. I didn't make it clear in my original post.

Re:Lift? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21146081)

If you want to get technical, then yeah, it's microgravity. [wikipedia.org] But if you want to get really technically, then no, there's no difference thanks to Einstein's equivalence principle [wikipedia.org] . But okay, okay there's a little bit of acceleration thanks to atmospheric drag and tidal forces...

Thanks for playing!

Re:Lift? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154887)

Two things. First, zero G just means that the local acceleration is negligiable. A microgravity environment is a special case of a zero G environment where the allowed accelerations can be measured in micro G's. Zero G doesn't mean precisely zero acceleration. Second, zero G does not mean zero gravitational field. Even if we ignore the Earth's gravitational field, anything in orbit would experience gravitation fields from the Sun, Moon, and any other object visible in the universe. If my calculations are correct, both the Sun and Moon have gravitational fields on the order of 10^-5 G. Not strong, but strong enough to slew up a microgravity environment that were stationary rather than in freefall.

Re:Lift? (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21157135)

You could also count the local acceleration due to the mass of the ISS itself. That is not completely zero either, especially when NASA and its "partners" keep adding additional mass in the form of new modules.

Certainly it is something that would be important to take into consideration if you are trying to do some calculations for very low gravity research, such as metallurgy and other similar activities. Of course, this is but another reason why some consider the ISS platform to be a horrible way to do most of the "science" that it was originally claimed to be built for.

Re:Lift? (2, Informative)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144327)

"Uh... I don't think anything was "lifted". In zero G, there is no up and down, AFAIK."

Up and down are relative terms. On Earth, for example, down to us is a straight line from the point of the sphere we're standing on to the Earth's core. If you're on a space shuttle in 'zero G', you still think of the floor of the shuttle as 'down'. When the doors on top open and the cargo is removed, it goes 'up' to exit.

The reason the phrase "there's no down in space" came about is that there isn't the pull of gravity to give you an intuitive sense of direction. If you were just free floating out in deep space in a space suit, you wouldn't know which way to go. That's all that means. It doesn't mean that you've entered some weird wibbly wobbly area of space that lacks any dimension.

Re:Lift? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21144353)

not true, the enemies gate is down

Re:Lift? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21144429)

Was than an obscure Ender's Game reference?

Re:Lift? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21144591)

Was than an obscure Ender's Game reference?

No, it is perhaps the most well known of all Ender's Game references.

Re:Lift? (2, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144437)

Uh... I don't think anything was "lifted". In zero G, there is no up and down, AFAIK.

Since you're being a nitpick: they're not in "zero g", they're in orbit. There is a difference. One means there are no (or, in practical terms, very little) gravitational forces acting on you; the other means you're hurtling through space fast enough that you counteract gravitational forces trying to pull you down to the planet.

Re:Lift? (1)

MOBE2001 (263700) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144545)

Since you're being a nitpick: they're not in "zero g", they're in orbit. There is a difference. One means there are no (or, in practical terms, very little) gravitational forces acting on you; the other means you're hurtling through space fast enough that you counteract gravitational forces trying to pull you down to the planet.

Zero G and free fall are equivalent from the point of view of the object, according to GR and Newtonian physics. No unbalanced force and all that.

Re:Lift? (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149453)

Zero G and free fall are equivalent from the point of view of the object,

It doesn't matter. They're still two different things...zero g means NO gravity.

700 volts (1)

Ep0xi (1093943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144479)

is nothing, keep walking

Mama Mia! (4, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144485)

Nespoli... joined Discovery's crew to personally deliver the Italian-made pressurized chamber... Astronauts added the school bus-sized room

That's a big pressure cooker! Now they just have to find enough ravioli to fill it.

The true question on the minds of the people. (1)

The Mean (1126325) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144497)

We are all wondering down here, did those astronauts get their lunch?

Re:The true question on the minds of the people. (1)

TyroPyro (974731) | more than 6 years ago | (#21146291)

Seeing as the Harmony module is the first pressurized module (read: living space enlargement) added to the ISS since 2001, I can't blame them for being a little anxious to open the hatch. Everything else has been trusses and arrays.

Re:The true question on the minds of the people. (1)

Pingmaster (1049548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21147897)

No, but they'll have to fill out a schedule H21-B now to get authorization to be paid 30 minutes overtime :D

International Space Station Station Room? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144535)

If I read the headline right:

Astronauts Open ISS Station Room

Then they just opened the International Space Stationn Station Room, yes?

I don't usually play grammar police, but this one was a bit too obvious...

Re:International Space Station Station Room? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21145207)

I hear this sort of thing happens all the time, but us mortals don't usually hear about it.

Re:International Space Station Station Room? (1)

azenpunk (1080949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21146245)

they had to use their pin numbers on the door to open it.

Re:International Space Station Station Room? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21150493)

Well, if the room itself is called "Station room", yes, it should be the International Space Station Station Room, i.e. the Station Room of the International Space Station (as opposed to an ISS room in general, i.e. a room of the ISS; most ISS rooms are not the ISS Station Room).

Re:International Space Station Station Room? (1)

aqk (844307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154617)


Should I hold my breath?


oh wow - more room (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21144599)

And yet, they dont have private quarter - I guess they still sleep on the floor
of the space station

Murphy's Law on tools (1)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144833)

700 bolts...and of course, the ONE tool missing from the toolbox is the wrench they need.

Re:Murphy's Law on tools (1)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21144989)

That's nothing. When they do manage to jury rig a wrench they'll remove 699 bolts and the 700th one will be stuck!

Queer eye for the space guy (1, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21145135)

But... but... there aren't any gay astronauts!

How will they decorate this new room?

- RG>

Re:Queer eye for the space guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148493)

But... but... there aren't any gay astronauts! How will they decorate this new room?
Don't worry, they've got wimminfolk. They're just as good.

Who gets to be first (2, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 6 years ago | (#21145477)

Astronauts added the school bus-sized room

Who gets to be the first to moon the Earth?

Re:Who gets to be first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21159267)

Have you noticed how everything NASA sends into space has to be school bus-sized? Go back and read news articles from the launch of some of the historic probes. Hubble? School bus-sized. Chandra, Cassini, the Destiny ISS module, and the undeployed solar arrays? School bus-sized.

The teachers are taking over.

Thrice-damned multi-billion dollar rathole (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21146151)

I eagerly look forward to the new scientific results we'll get, now that the ISS has a new module. ...
Fucking low-earth orbit rathole. We could have another hubble or the Next Linear Collider, but instead we get a damn hamster habitat in space.

Re:Thrice-damned multi-billion dollar rathole (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21147115)

Yes, because learning how to live and work in space has no importance whatsoever.

(that was sarcasm btw)

Re:Thrice-damned multi-billion dollar rathole (2, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21147161)

Like the shuttle, the problem isn't the project itself, its the lack of imagination in using it. The ISS could be a launchpad for manned missions to the planets. If you want to assemble a interplanetary craft in space, a long-term human habitat could house your construction crew whilst the bits are being sent up. This eliminates the need to rush them all up over a week or so.

Re:Thrice-damned multi-billion dollar rathole (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21157011)

I would generally agree with this sentiment, however it would have been nice had the ISS been equipped with something like a "space drydock" facility or something similar.

For crying out loud, there is a real need to do in orbit repairs on the Space Shuttle, and the ISS would be an ideal way to test out such repair techniques rather than some sort of ad hoc patch job that is the current method.

Of course Skylab had nearly as much working space and volume as the current ISS configuration has right now... even with the addition of the current module. Imagine what the ISS could have been looking like had they been using Saturn V engines instead of the shuttle... at likely a fraction of the cost ass well.

As far as I can tell, the only real advantage of using a shuttle for ISS construction would be to bring a module back to the Earth for repairs. While this has certainly been done in the past (to bring back some satellites), that is a shuttle mission that has been underutilized.

Re:Thrice-damned multi-billion dollar rathole (1)

Edgyboy (1157885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21147801)

Yeah, screw those stupid ''low orbit'' lovers! In fact, screw space in general. There are so many problems right here. Let's spend all that money on feeding the hungry in the Third world. But, they'll just buy black tar heroin and AK47's, and then star a bunch of religious and tribal wars. Screw them too! I know! We should finance another ''Enterprise'' season - we will surely learn more form that entertaining yet informative show then from some silly ''space stations'' and ''laboratory modules''.

Fucking in zero G's (1)

ccmay (116316) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149405)

With all the chicks flying in space nowadays, some of them pretty [yahoofs.com] decent [nasa.gov] looking [nasa.gov] , it's nice to know there is one more semi-private place where the Zero G club can initiate new members. Just gotta watch out for the floating gobs of spooge.

Re:Fucking in zero G's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21154637)

Too much Law; not enough Order.


Too much awe; not enough larder.
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