Top five creature comforts on the ISS

Reminders of home can help keep astronauts on the ISS happy and healthy

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It can be a long stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS), away from friends and family, so NASA makes sure that astronauts have at least some creature comforts to remind them of home.

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1

Coffee

Credit: Lavazza
Credit: Lavazza

Until now, inhabitants on the space station have had to make do with instant coffee, but Italian firm Lavazza has created a machine capable of brewing the perfect coffee in mircrogravity that will be installed on the ISS next year.

The machine, called ISSpresso and shown below, weights nearly 20kg and serves coffee in a pouch rather than a cup.

2

A Joystick

NASA ISS Joystick Haptic1

Last week’s supply shipment to the ISS included the Haptics-1 Joystick, which will allow astronauts to play basic ‘Pong’ style games while in orbit.

The joystick vibrates in response to obstacles in the game but in microgravity even this small amount of force could push the user around.

To avoid being flung around the station, astronauts have to strap the joystick around their waist, as can be seen in the image below.


3

The cupola

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

A hexagonal window looking down on Earth, known as the cupola, was added to the ISS in 2010.

Watching the world go by out of the cupola is one of the major activities enjoyed by astronauts on the ISS. S

everal cameras are stowed nearby, and over the years thousands of photographs of the Earth’s surface have been taken out of the windows.

In the picture below Sandy Magnus is enjoying the view.

4

Lego

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

While on board the station Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa built his very own version of his new home out of Lego, shown below, as well as a satellite and a space shuttle orbiter.

The builds were complicated by the fact that the pieces kept floating away, and he had to disassemble the models almost straight away as the bricks were considered to be too flamable.

5

Musical Instruments

The ISS is a surprisingly musical place.

As well as an electric keyboard and a guitar that are permanently aboard the station, many astronauts have brought their own instruments including several flutes, a saxophone and even a make shift didgeridoo that astronaut Don Pettit created out of a vacuum cleaner hose.

Several astronauts have even performed live with people on the ground.

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You can watch Chris Hadfield’s performance of ‘Is Somebody Singing (ISS)’ below.