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Life on board the ISS

09-01-2011 16:47 BJT

Sleeping in space

The station provides crew quarters for each member of the expedition's crew, with two 'sleep stations' in the Zvezda and four more installed in Harmony. The American quarters are private, approximately person-sized soundproof booths. The Russian crew quarters include a small window, but don't provide the same amount of ventilation or block the same amount of noise as their American counterparts. A crewmember can sleep in a crew quarter in a tethered sleeping bag, listen to music, use a laptop, and store personal items in a large drawer or in nets attached to the module's walls. The module also provides a reading lamp, a shelf and a desktop. Visiting crews have no allocated sleep module, and attach a sleeping bag to an available space on a wall- it is possible to sleep floating freely through the station, but this is generally avoided because of the possibility of bumping into sensitive equipment. It is important that crew accommodations be well ventilated; otherwise, astronauts can wake up oxygen-deprived and gasping for air, because a bubble of their own exhaled carbon dioxide has formed around their heads.


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