Space Station, International Space Station, ISS discussed on Houston We Have a Podcast

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We were developing was not put through a lot of testing When we first launched it into orbit and so the first crew started using it around the year two thousand immediately collapsed it had not been tested adequately and So we had to go back and redesign and rebuild it to be much stronger and we discovered that if the crew cannot exercise this as a critical failure and you start thinking about bringing the crew home within a matter of a month or less and So it turns out it is really critical hardware and it is something that you need to give serious thought to and has to be adequately tested before it goes into orbit so we were learning a lot of these lessons as we were going We started out with the Mir flights that allowed us to test a lot of this equipment. including some of the scientific payloads we sent up the first microgravity glove boxes Prototypes for what would later fly on the ISS. We sent up Other kinds of devices that were intended to limit the number of vibrations between the payload and the vibrations of the structure of the space station. So we tested those out and then we would launch more Significant systems for the ISS. We looked at the design of the Russian waste management system and also how they use different systems for recycling air and water and We were already involved in developing some of that for the ISS But the Russian approach was often very simple Almost elegant in its simplicity. And so we adopted some of those approaches And made our systems a little bit simpler to and I think in the long run that has worked out better In terms of being able to maintain and support the system in orbit about data and communications. I know that was a big one over time. And the improvements there will a lot of A lot of things really did improve significantly mirror. showed us a lot of the problems of a space station. A lot of the potential problems lot of the art experience on Mir was pretty negative because first of all Mir was very old when the US started flying the shuttle up there it was only intended to last about five years and by the the first shuttle visited it was had been there for nine years allow and by the end of the program We were going on about fifteen years. Mir had very limited communications Because of the the collapse of the Soviet government They really no longer had the t teed risk kind of a satellite that would allow them to maintain continuous communications geosynchronous communication satellite and therefore astronauts and cosmonauts could only communicate when they were within range of a few ground stations mainly across the old Soviet Empire and so they're fairly limited. How much communications could go back and forth. In the meantime we had computer systems that were growing more sophisticated For instance we had wi fi In the first laptop computers that we put on the Mir but the Russians were somewhat hesitant to use something like that because of the potential interference electromagnetic signals and so on and so we were learning a lot about how to do that and they were learning quite a bit about How that could affect things by the time. The International Space Station comes along just a few years later We we have learned a lot of those lessons. We had grown somewhat more sophisticated Our systems were new and they were working well We were very dependent on computers on the ISS whereas Mir had evolved from being a pre computer age kind of a station in the seventies and early eighties prior to Mirror They were more dependent on computers but by the time of ISS in nineteen eighty eight We we are very dependent on computers. In fact the The first crew that reaches the space station says they can't turn the lights on. They can't turn the lights on because you do it through the computer and they can't find the computer because the lights are off and so So that were some of the lessons that That we were learning at that time so So the computers were going far. More sophisticated and capable. Communications was Was almost continuous Because we did have the cheater system in orbit. Now what did we learn about life on the station because this was really are? We were jumping right into some of these long expeditions. And whatever it takes to operate over these periods of time again we have learned on the mirror that a lot of the crew time spent just maintaining the station and fortunately because the the ISS was somewhat simpler and there wasn't as much stuff in on the inside it was a little bit easier to access different areas so it didn't take quite as much time to maintain the systems. And what I'm talking about maintaining just wiping down the interior with the various kind of biological materials to control the growth of any kind of hazardous contaminants That was something that we had faced on Mir man Don. I assess Fortunately we didn't have to deal with that as much but we still had to spend at least about a day a week for by the crew cleaning and maintaining a lot of the systems We learned quite a bit about The health of the astronauts and how the health of the astronauts interface with the environmental control and Life Support. System so for instance. We knew for a long time that the astronauts were losing minerals from their bones. Her bones were growing weaker. Like in osteoporosis. In the case of the elderly it was the same kind of thing in Orb as well as the muscle. Mass of the astronauts was decreasing. And so these were things that we needed. Various kinds of countermeasures Exercise Countermeasures What we did not appreciate was a lot of these minerals that were coming out of. The astronauts was coming out in the urine and therefore in our waste management system which was processing the urine We formed What you mystically call urine brickell and it was clogging up the systems on the environmental control recycling equipment and so we were learning quite a bit And had to go back and redesign. Some of the components said that it was a less susceptible some of these kinds of problems. Wow now you talked about a lot crew time especially on Mir was dedicated to just maintaining fixing this or scrubbing down that. But I think the the goal of the International Space Station was eventually to move towards maximizing utilization time or the time you dedicate the science we had Looked at how best to use the space station right along from the very beginning A lot of the top level NASA management felt that it was all about science. It was all about building. He user community. That was going to be supportive of human spaceflight and therefore we were trying to develop experiments. I on shuttle later for SPACELAB. And then Mir that took could be developed into more sophisticated systems for use on the ISS. the problems early on on the ISS was that with the small number of crew members. Initially Just a three and then eventually growing to four and not getting to eight until Later years after about ten years or so We really did not have as much crew time as we would have liked if you take a look at the crewman's day and how much time they have to spend Maintaining themselves whether for exercise or cleanliness and so on but then How much time they actually had available for a for doing scientific work. It was a pretty constrained so we're learning quite a bit about how to either automate. Some of the systems how to operate a lot of the systems from the ground and so This has been developed really to the point now where the astronauts although they do have to do. Some on-orbit Actual maintenance of the station most of the system level activities operating the systems is done from the ground and so the astronauts do not have to focus on that so much and they do have more time to focus on scientific experiments. Yeah and they're every kind that you can imagine there earth observation. Their biological their systems. They're they're really everything going. I WanNa take a kind of zoom in on International Space Station history to the Columbia accident. What happened there in terms of the assembly? And then what we had to rethink and Redo and then get back up on our feet turf. Thin eventually finished construction of the space station or of course the initial Assembly mission occurred in nineteen eighty eight and so from eight until two thousand and three when the Columbia accident occurred We were able to do a fair amount of assembly work although we were somewhat limited because the Russians Were not moving along quite as quickly as we had hoped with the service module The survey the Russians only have a limited number of people that they apply on any of their modules. And so they had to I. do the F. B. B. and it wasn't until the F. was in orbit that they were able to move on to the service module and get it ready to fly That was finally ready The first crew went up of the first long duration crew went up in. I think two thousand and so they took their place in orbit and so then we had it about another Almost three years to work in space before the Columbia accident occurred at the time. The Columbia accident occurred. We really were not In the best of situation in terms of having all of the electrical power and and radiator systems in place. We had just started building out the trust We in a way. We were fortunate in that. We did have a fairly balanced station. Where equal amounts of trust had been placed on both sides and therefore it was somewhat easier to control and maintain in orbit. But of course we had been so focused on building assembling the station using the shuttle that when the shuttle stopped flying after Columbia We really were not able to do any more assembly work and so that That stopped everything for about two years or so until the return to flight and they returned to fly. Did that kick off a rapid set of assembly missions. So one of the problems we had run into prior to Columbia was we were bringing the different elements of the station Down to Kennedy and preparing them to fly but often times we would have one element there and the next element to add to connect Was Not really there to do any kind of testing on So we frequently had to do simulators place of the actual test articles when the Columbia accident happened In a way it worked out fortunate. Net all of the equipment began to coalesce at Kennedy Space Center. And so we could put a lot more of it together. Test it out more thoroughly Prior to launch and that way when we when we returned the shuttle to flight the the assembly missions could go off Much more rapidly almost at the pace of about one month or so when one of every month and a half or so and so we were able to move along pretty quickly. Okay now I WANNA Talk Abou Operations for a second. Because I think you've mentioned it a few times that You you mentioned this. Space Station was designed to be a bit simpler so the crew didn't have to do much but really this is different from even shuttle where it was the crew that was that was flying the shuttle. The space station is almost flown from the ground operated from the ground. Twenty four seven operations and then on top of that you have international operations. Tell me how that structure can about well. Of course computers and computer networking has evolved quite a bit over the years over the course of the last twenty years and so this is allowed the people on the ground to have almost as much sometimes even more insight into situation on the station the crew has It also means that you can have specialists all over the world Specializing in their own systems. They don't necessarily have to come here to Houston or in the case of payloads the Marshall Center in Alabama They can oftentimes stay in their own. Local control centers and operate their systems from Oberpfaffenhofen Germany or from From Chikuba in Japan or from wherever the location is So that means A lot more of the people that maintain and operate the station. can do it remotely Not only remote from the station but remote parts of the Earth. And what is it? What did it take to switch to Because when it comes to Michigan troll Before the International Space Station a lot of what we know is mission. Control was staffed for a mission and you. Would you would train and you would do simulations and you would do that. But this now we're talking about continuous staffing making sure that someone's in the room at all times because you already mentioned it. Almost twenty years.

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