Orbiting some 370 kilometres above Earth, the International Space Station (ISS) is a research facility being developed by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada. In this cozy aerie a football field long, a small, regularly changing crew of astronauts spends months at a time building the station and conducting experiments. It is a quirky place in which to live and work, and who better to offer an insider’s view than Chris Hadfield? The Sarnia, Ont., native has twice travelled into space: in 1995 on a shuttle mission to the Russian space station Mir and in 2001 to the ISS, during which he became the first Canadian to perform a spacewalk. In December 2012, Hadfield will have another honour: he’ll become the first Canadian to command the ISS during a six-month mission.
TIED TO BE FIT
In a makeshift gym on board the ISS, Hadfield’s colleague, American astronaut T.J. Creamer, is harnessed to the floor as he works out on a treadmill. “We exercise two hours a day, seven days a week. It’s not only for cardiovascular fitness. Scientists are collecting information on physiological changes to learn more about what it’ll take to prepare astronauts for even longer journeys to Mars. Notice the towel above T.J’s head. In zero gravity, perspiration floats off the body rather than dripping down, so we have to constantly towel off.” (Photo: NASA)