Space Station Expedition

How do the nauts get to the space station?

I keep hearing about capsules..but I really don't understand. They don't actually take the space shuttle? and when they do a "hand off" as in the Expedition 16-17, three go up and three go home? How do they leave? Isn't there a space shuttle attached to the ISS? Or do they pick up the phone ans call for a space 'taxi'?

How does this process work? So one naut goes up in a capsule and how does that work and how does the naut enter the ISS?

What is a capsule? Just like a rocket with a seat in it?

Is there a space shuttle always docked there?

Basically there's two ways to leave the ISS (if you want to live), one is hitching a ride on the space shuttle, the other is the soyuz capsule.

Soyuz is a 3 person spacecraft where only the capsule returns to earth, it has a heat shield to make it through the atmosphere, it's not a reusable craft.

The space shuttle has room for 7 astronauts and is reusable, meaning it goes through the atmosphere, lands and can be used again later on.

To enter the space station you basically launch onboard either of these two crafts and dock to the station, there's a hatch on the shuttle/soyuz and several on the space station, they connect to eachother before opening the hatches.

As far as I know there's always at least one Soyuz craft attached to the ISS, for emergency evacuation purposes, obviously there will be more when the onboard crew grows.

Handoff is done after a new crew arrives on either the shuttle, or a soyuz craft, the old crew leaves with either of the crafts. If it's to be on the space shuttle then obviously they can only take 4 other crewmembers in case all 3 on the station are coming home.

Hope that answers all your questions.

Life in Orbit - International Space Station Expedition 13 (SUPER COOL)




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