Wednesday, November 20, 2013

450 tons of equipment and a Millionenklo - Spiegel Online

about 28,000 kilometers per hour, the International Space Station races around the globe. Spaceman rave about the views of our planet. However, until the circling Colossus had its present form, it took years: On 20 November 1998 laid the Russians with the module “Zarya” laying the foundation for the international research station. Two weeks later, a docked space shuttle crew, the U.S. module “Unity” to the segment on.

More than 200 astronauts since worked on the ISS. Since 2000, the research station is manned. But life inside the lab tubes is uncomfortable. Candidates undergo a year of training to be able to live for a few weeks on the ISS. The alien living community dwells with almost no privacy between computers and cables, getting used to the food and alcohol is prohibited. He seems much more in space, because the body breaks down substances in microgravity.

things like the toilet several times to the highly technical act: Because of gravity, the residents will have to clamp her legs on the toilet. What on earth is washed away with water, vacuums, first in a 20 liter container and then into a space shuttle. Serves as a dumpster and burn up in the atmosphere in the crash. Approximately 14 million euro cost the Cosmo-loo and if necessary can even recycle urine into drinking water.

A symbol of international understanding

2006, the first German astronaut Thomas Reiter traveled to the space station. Nearly half of his 350 days spent in space on the ISS. Today Reiter says, now Director of Human Spaceflight at the European Space Agency ESA, of the international project “The ISS is the ideal laboratory for both research in microgravity as well as for testing new technologies.” Germany belong with nearly 100 experiments the most intense users of the ISS.

Most components of the ISS are from Russia and the U.S., but with the built in Bremen and Turin Columbus laboratory, it has, since 2008, a “European rooms”. Over a dozen nations – besides the U.S. and Russia, especially Europeans, Japan and Canada – have contributed to the ISS. After the cosmic race between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War, the space station is now also a symbol of international understanding.

Special problems need special staff

from the start but there was also criticism. The total cost of more than 100 billion euros would be disproportionate to the benefit, my ISS opponents. None of the so far more than 1200 experiments on the ISS have Groundbreaking unearthed, they claim.

To reduce operating costs, astronauts could theoretically bring experiments to the ISS and pick up again after a few months. However, the U.S. chief of the ISS program, Michael Suffredini, warns of a prolonged absence of astronauts. Again and again, problems were encountered that were solved only by astronauts on site. Since its beginnings in 1998 it has been on the station almost 200 foreign missions, including one with Olympic torch.

Europe wants China to participate in the ISS

But the financial future of the flying laboratory is in the stars. Until now, the ISS partners have pledged funding only until 2020. Also suggest why the Europeans, China to participate in the ISS. The giant empire is planning to build its own space station. The U.S. and Russia are skeptical. For them, space has a military component. In addition, experts doubt that Beijing fall leaves its own plans to help finance an aging ISS. Should the ISS be actually scrapped after 2020, the partners want to instead operate smaller unmanned laboratories in space.

Despite the funding difficulties will probably celebrated tomorrow once. Former astronaut Reuter admits that alcohol regulation on the ISS was more directive than prohibition. While it is important to have all the senses. But “there is now and again occasions when heard a small drop of it.” The 15th Birthday of the ISS could be one of those moments.


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