Join 3,425 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Space, to lick the very fuzzy navel of the heavens
April 25, 2008 8:59 PM   Subscribe

Ever wondered what life is like on the International Space Station? Wonder no more.

Excitement!
Yuri getting ready for velo and Sergei warming up TVIS. Got a master alarm and the red light for "other" (warning) on the caution and warning panel
Drama!
End of the workday. Disc 2 of Apocalypse Now. Found "Kurtz" .
International Intrigue!
Shep is in the habit of reading the form 24 to the last "bykvia" and this slows things way down. For instance, misinterpreted the English letters "st"on the form 24--thinking this meant the Russian word "stranitsa" (page) when it really stood for "step". (Too early in the a.m.)
High-tech thriller!
Attempted backup of SSC file server (20 minute procedure) Hardware configuration requires saving files and shutting down SSC2 to get at the PC extender. Extender won't go on File Server until hardware is removed, which requires shutting down FS, and removing PC card bracket and ethernet card. More restarts required to get things going. Backup procedure unexpectedly shuts down FS. When restarted, FS comes up but network is down. FS is down again. Sergei helping with the troubleshooting--already spent 2 hours on this and still not working. Something wrong with the power supply? We swap supplies with the router--FS is working. Then the suspect power supply starts working again. We're stumped. The good news is that the network is up. The bad news--we will probably see this again.
Even the quotidian, in space, takes on a different feel!
Dinner in the wardroom as usual. Decided not to go for the ham and smoked turkey--saving this for tomorrow.
And that's just for the first month... Of course, if being an astronaut doesn't tickle your fancy, there's always astronaut-herding opportunities.
posted by oxford blue (25 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I skimmed to the last paragraph of each entry just to see what movie they watched.
posted by c:\awesome at 9:12 PM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Intergalactic movie suggestions?
posted by oxford blue at 9:16 PM on April 25, 2008


There's a good HD video here at the bottom (Life in Orbit).
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:48 PM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just set my Netflix queue to be the same movies in the same order as reported in their logs. Yay! With these dvds and Tang, I'll be like an astronaut too!
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:02 PM on April 25, 2008



SHIP'S LOG 22 FEB

The day really gets off to a bad start. The server connection to the net is down hard. We worked on it last night until 0100 and could not bring it up. We were doing the file server part of network reconfiguration yesterday. This moved the FS to the lab-we also extended the Ethernet lan from the Node into the lab (not part of the procedure). This allowed the server to rejoin the network without delay, rather than waiting much later when the RF access points are set up. The plan was working well, and the server was online from mid afternoon. At about 2200, we were reconfiguring some mail files which, with a lot of help from Windows NT, got put in the wrong place during the backup procedure. When we finished restoring the files, the network was down and would not come back up. We worked this for several hours. Finally, jiggling some cables brings just a part of the net back. (that really instills confidence in the stability of your network).

So as of 0700, we have to use the OCA machine for daily planning. Fortunately, ground has uplinked everything to the OCA's directories, so at least we have what we need onboard. But when we try and print, the printer locks up. It is not happy with the net now either. So Shep and Sergei start trying to figure out what is going on. After trying lots of other computer tricks that don't work, we put another network card in the server and that seems to fix the server problem. We power cycle the printer and that comes back. We are having a hard time understanding the how and why, but everything is working.


The amount of time they spend fucking with Windows in orbit is incredible. How many thousands of dollars per hour are these astronauts worth?
posted by anthill at 10:16 PM on April 25, 2008


The amount of time they spend fucking with Windows in orbit is incredible. How many thousands of dollars per hour are these astronauts all the information workers in the world worth?

Fixed.
posted by aqhong at 10:49 PM on April 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


[REDACTED MATERIAL - 24 lines]
posted by gac at 10:51 PM on April 25, 2008


They forgot to log the stardate.
posted by Soliloquy at 11:06 PM on April 25, 2008


COMIC SANS! THE COMMANDER OF THE ISS WROTE A LOG IN COMIC SANS!

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

My childhood dreams.

IN COMIC SANS.

I am killing myself now. Tell my mom I love her.
posted by blacklite at 11:10 PM on April 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Watched disk 1 of "Apocalypse Now". Shep tried to explain why Robert Duvall is always wearing the black cavalry hat, but being a Navy guy, he's not sure he understands it either.

It's like twitter, for astronauts. Twitternauts!
posted by mecran01 at 11:28 PM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not much "science" going on up there.

NASA is such a joke. If it didn't cost so damn much money, I might find it funny.
posted by three blind mice at 12:02 AM on April 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Sergei led the way into the top of the Progress. Sergei said the nose of the docking probe "smells like space". It did have kind of a burnt toast odor to it--very faint. "

Space smells like burnt toast?!
posted by oxford blue at 12:20 AM on April 26, 2008


Oh, you didn't know? Kirk always used Comic Sans. Picard used Chalkboard.

If NASA just complained about the Windows downtime publicly, Linux nerds around the world would mobilize en masse to install, configure, and support all the machines up there. For free. They'd crawl over each other to provide 24/7 live tech support. They'd print up custom tee shirts to wear and everything.
posted by sdodd at 12:52 AM on April 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Expedition One Ship's Logs!

I go the reverse of Earth, every rotation, upside down because Solar System is linear.
posted by Mblue at 1:05 AM on April 26, 2008


For free.

Because as everyone knows, paying software engineers for the work they do - when there are legions of unemployed code monkeys who can do the job just as well or better for no pay at all - is just stupid.
posted by three blind mice at 1:25 AM on April 26, 2008


The amount of time they spend fucking with Windows in orbit is incredible.

If they had a Windows problem, I'm sure Microsoft would have been happy to get a whole team on it, fix it remotely, and keep a person on it 24 hours a day. Bill himself might have teleported up from his secret lab beneath a Labrador lighthouse. The astronauts just didn't have the sense to call.

But if you're going to gripe about time wasted on crap technology, consider that they're farting around repairing headphones (NASA can't afford decent headphones?) with a soldering iron and they're having trouble because the soldering iron's plug is MIR-compatible. And so on:
In all, we have recently experienced—a scopemeter we can’t recharge because we can’t plug it in, a soldering iron which has the wrong size tips, which we can’t plug in either, a vise we can’t use because it’s still on the ground, and “rivnuts” we can’t use because we don’t have the right drill bits. Not to mention a workbench that’s still on the ground somewhere too.
Also not to mention that these guys are wasting time watching crap Hollywood movies.
Got the word that Atlantis is delayed several weeks. Lab delay is critical as we are running out of movies that we have not watched.
They're not exactly the reflective sort you'd hope would be circling the earth, meditating, recording their thoughts, perhaps reading great books. No, they're hoping the guy driving the supply truck hurries up because they're running out of DVDs. They probably like configuring Windows Server.
posted by pracowity at 3:24 AM on April 26, 2008


It took me awhile to figure out while they were using Windows NT and watching movies on cd. Then I realized the date…

I wonder if life has improved any?
posted by oxford blue at 4:10 AM on April 26, 2008


They're not exactly the reflective sort you'd hope would be circling the earth, meditating, recording their thoughts, perhaps reading great books.

Well, think of the times you've ever moved to a new city. The first couple weeks are full of wondering and reflection. After you've settled in your wondering becomes limited to what's on TV that evening. Scale that down to the size of the tin can they're living in, and naturally it would be easy to become listless. Can't exactly go outside for a walk, you know.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:25 AM on April 26, 2008


Not much "science" going on up there. NASA is such a joke. If it didn't cost so damn much money, I might find it funny.

These logs are from Expedition 1, the "shake down" crew, the very first guys in the hatch back in November 2000. Do you expect to be throwing dinner parties, or sitting down and writing the Great American Novel, during the first week in your new house? How about if just about any failure of your house's systems would kill you?

Fast forward to today (and through the 3-4 year hiatus due to the Columbia accident) and you'll find that they are doing a huge amount of science now. In fact, in the last two months the flood gates have cracked open, and next May all holy hell will break loose when they finally come up to the full 6-man crew and start really busting it out. Infrastructure takes a while to build, dude.

[Well, the ISS status link above isn't working now, but hopefully it will later. Here's the Google cache of the latest report. Random quote: "In the US Lab, FE-2 Reisman continued his servicing of the CSLM-2 experiment, terminating the final vacuum draw on the sample chamber and initiating the sample run for SPU-8 .... CSLM-2 examines the kinetics of competitive particle growth within a liquid matrix."]

Alas, AMS is still not on the manifest. The Soyuz near-disaster last weekend may actually turn out to help this, because it's adding to the chorus pushing for an extension of the shuttle program and more launch opportunities for the items (like AMS) that had to be left on the ground due to the 2010 deadline. That 2010-to-2015 (at least) gap until Orion gets going could really suck if all we've got is Soyuz.

I certainly agree with you that there needs to be more and more real science being done, instead of pointless cowboy stunts, and some people are seriously working to that end.
posted by intermod at 6:59 AM on April 26, 2008


It's such an absurdly expensive endeavor, yet it has so much potential and promise; how can we really bemoan the expense? Surely it's an investment in the future. It is a unmitigated folly to reduce the promise of a science to a simple cost benefits spreadsheet; there's a great episode of The West Wing that explores this premise.

Is science an end to itself, or should finical prudence and quantifiable (economical?) results be the goal?
posted by oxford blue at 7:23 AM on April 26, 2008


After you've settled in your wondering becomes limited to what's on TV that evening.

If you were just you, one of billions on the ground, one of thousands or millions in that city, and no government was paying millions of dollars to keep you there, I might agree. What you do doesn't matter to anyone but you, and if you want to spend your time watch the curling championships, watch them. If I were orbiting the damned Earth, though, and on someone else's tab, not paying my way, I think I'd feel I owed it to myself and others to focus on where I was for the time I was up there. I know it's a long time, but if it were me, I think the latest action flick could wait until I got back. I wouldn't want to be distracted from my situation.

"What did you do in space, grandpa?"
"Well, when we finished soldering and stuff and got home from work, so to speak, and took out the garbage and so on, we'd kick back and watch a movie."
"What about the stars?"
"Oh, yeah. We had a big collection. Everybody. Pacino. De Niro. All of 'em."
"What's a... daneero?"
posted by pracowity at 8:46 AM on April 26, 2008


When I go into space, I want to work on the Whipped Cream Experiments. I can think of a few others that they missed, too.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:03 AM on April 26, 2008


If you were just you, one of billions on the ground, one of thousands or millions in that city, and no government was paying millions of dollars to keep you there, I might agree. What you do doesn't matter to anyone but you, and if you want to spend your time watch the curling championships, watch them. If I were orbiting the damned Earth, though, and on someone else's tab, not paying my way, I think I'd feel I owed it to myself and others to focus on where I was for the time I was up there. I know it's a long time, but if it were me, I think the latest action flick could wait until I got back. I wouldn't want to be distracted from my situation.
Wow, do you seriously believe this? People are people even in space. And working all day, concentrating strongly on my situation all the time, seems like a recipe for insanity more than anything else. Even astronauts are allowed to have downtime and relax at the end of the long day. These are highly trained, extremely intelligent people and you want to burn them out by making them work all day. What a stupid idea.
posted by peacheater at 12:12 PM on April 26, 2008


Using a soldering iron on a closed-loop space station? *shudder* Hope the NASA budget can pay for solder with less of a toxic reek to it.
posted by syscom at 9:11 PM on April 26, 2008


As Bob Park puts it:

1. EXPLORATION: EXPEDITION FROM EARTH LANDS ON DISTANT TITAN.
Last Friday, the reach of man extended 900 million miles to the surface of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. It stands as one of the most notable voyages of exploration in history. Carried piggyback on Cassini since 1997, the European Space Agency's Huygens probe parachuted 789 miles to reach Titan's smoggy surface. Huygens had the good fortune to land on solid ground, within sight of the shoreline of a hydrocarbon sea. Over the next several hours, until its batteries finally died, Huygens transmitted everything it had learned back to Cassini, which relayed it to Darmstadt. The data will keep researchers busy for years. Cassini will continue studying Saturn for another four years. Meanwhile, only 90 miles from the surface of Earth, the NASA On-Orbit Status Report notes that the ISS crew checked gear for a 26 Jan space walk, performed periodic microbial air sampling, did routine maintenance on the toilet facilities, performed a 2.5 hour exercise program, had an interview with USA Today and recorded a video message in observance of the 250th anniversary of Moscow State University. Today's quiz: Which cost the most, Cassini/Huygens or the ISS?


(You can also substitute Hubble for Cassini/Huygens, etc. etc.)
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:21 AM on April 27, 2008


« Older How to Lawfully Reset Your Credit History. A fasci...  |  Positive Exposure... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments