After a short glance on my telemetry displays I can see indications, that the power outlet, which feeds the Columbus lights, draws some power: “COL-FLIGHT, STRATOS, Columbus lights are ON!”
The answer comes immediately: “Copy that, STRATOS, so the crew is awake!”
The astronauts are ready to kick off their day!
A standard crew day onboard ISS starts with around 1 hour of post-sleep time. Crew can have breakfast, prepare for the day and read the “Daily Summary”, a sort of newspaper, which we put together with the other control centers and which is used to provide the crew with the ISS big-picture status, comments to the daily plan, the Flight Control Teams roster, as well as a Q&A section and (sometimes) jokes and cartoons
It does not sound that different from the morning routine of any other human being preparing for work on planet Earth, does it?
The first official interaction with the Control Centers around the world is during the mDPC (“morning Daily Planning Conference”): Crew and the Flight Controllers tag-up on the daily operations, discuss deltas to the plan and address any crew question that might arise.
The termination of the mDPC marks the start of the actual work-day for the crew. 6.5 hours of their day will be divided between conducting experiments, installing new payloads, executing repairs and “housekeeping”!
In addition to the work time, 1 hour is always allocated for a midday meal, and 2.5 hours are strictly scheduled for physical exercise: crewmembers use a cycle ergometer (i.e. an exercise bike) for cardiovascular exercise, a treadmill for cardiovascular exercise – loading the skeletal system and maintaining the neuromuscular patterns for locomotion, and a Resistance Exercise Device for maintaining muscles and bones.
Once the daily activities are completed, it is time for the eDPC (“evening Daily Planning Conference”). This is “goodnight” time: interactions with the crew on the Space-to-Ground voice channels are interrupted to allow them some well-deserved rest time, we also switch off any camera inside the space station! Only in case of contingency scenarios the Ground Teams would make contact again.
After a round call to all control centers for any input, crew is off-duty: they can have dinner, check social media and watch TV or movies, or spend some “quality-time” sightseeing from Cupola.
Then it’s bed time: 8.5 hours of good sleep in micro-gravity
One last thing! A dedicated electronic tool is available to both Crew and Ground Teams, called OSTPV (“Onboard Short Term Plan Viewer”): it shows the so-called timeline, the schedule of the ISS and is divided in several bands for Crew and Ground, and each activity is represented by a “bar” It is driving the crew day – and it can drive astronauts crazy, as you can convince yourself …
Should you be interested in the current OSTPV: We give you a little bit of insight here.