Astronaut Sunita Williams Gives an Extensive Tour of the International Space Station

After a 125-day stay aboard the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion, ISS Com­man­der Suni­ta (Suni) Williams touched down in Kaza­khstan on Mon­day, along with Flight Engi­neers Aki Hoshide and Yuri Malanchenko. Part of what is known as Expe­di­tion 33, the three board­ed their Soyuz TMA-05M on Sun­day to return to Earth, but before they left, Williams down­linked an exten­sive tour above of the ISS orbital lab­o­ra­to­ry. Williams has giv­en sev­er­al inter­views from her ISS post, so you may have already seen her float­ing weight­less in front of the cam­era, a nim­bus of dark hair around her face.

Here we see a num­ber of inter­est­ing fea­tures of the sta­tion. She begins with the Japan­ese lab­o­ra­to­ry, then moves to the Euro­pean mod­ule, “Colum­bus,” where many of the med­ical exper­i­ments take place. Inter­est­ing­ly, every sur­face is a suit­able work­sta­tion; since there’s no ref­er­ence for floor, walls, or ceil­ing, and no need for any­thing to stand on, one can maneu­ver into any posi­tion with­out los­ing a sense of direc­tion. As Williams demon­strates the “sleep sta­tions,” phone booth-size com­part­ments with sleep­ing bags, she shows how the astro­nauts can also sleep in any posi­tion at all with­out feel­ing like they’re “upside-down” or dis­ori­ent­ed in any way. There’s also a lengthy tour of the “facil­i­ties” (in case you’ve ever won­dered how that works) and the “cupo­la,” a small trans­par­ent room like a WWII gun­nery sta­tion where the astro­nauts can gaze out at their home plan­et.

So, yes, I will admit, I’ve always liked to imag­ine the inte­ri­or of the ISS like the smooth, padded cor­ri­dors of Stan­ley Kubrick’s 2001, but the real­i­ty is still seri­ous­ly cool. The Wash­ing­ton Post has a slideshow of Expe­di­tion 33’s touch­down near the town of Arka­lyk in north­ern Kaza­khstan, and the video below shows the small cer­e­mo­ny that greet­ed the crew hours after their arrival back on Earth.

via Uni­verse Today

Josh Jones is a doc­tor­al can­di­date in Eng­lish at Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty and a co-founder and for­mer man­ag­ing edi­tor of Guer­ni­ca / A Mag­a­zine of Arts and Pol­i­tics.

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.