Another weekend has gone by and it’s time to get ready for a new week of work on humanity’s outpost in space!
As I wrote last weekend, Saturday is the cleaning day. It’s also the day when you have some more time for personal hygiene, when you can take a luxurious bath… ehm, just kidding. But, in space terms, it’s still a luxurious day: you may choose, like I do, to inaugurate your fresh, clean, new towel on Sunday. It’s not exactly shower size, more like what you would use in your home for drying hands, but it’s still nice.
We also get a “shower in a bag” every second day: it’s one of those camping towels that you impregnate with water – most of ours come wrapped in an pouch with the same interface for the water dispenser as the drinks, so you can dispense water directly into the bag without spilling any drops around.
And we have a pouch of liquid soap every second week. So, recapping, wash with your camping towel and the liquid soap, dry with your weekly real towel. We also have a washcloth per week, I typically use it for drying off sweat during exercise for one week, the next week it graduates to spitting towel for toothpaste. I know, I’m high-maintenance: many astronauts just swallow it.
Hey, if the spitting in the towel was already too much information for you, you might want to stop here, because it gets better. How about cutting your fingernails in space? I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I had postponed this operation until yesterday, because I was a bit intimidated by it. How do you make sure that your don’t lose a cut-off piece of fingernail in the cabin, which could end up in somebody’s eyes? That would be very poor space etiquette. People have told me that you do that close do a ventilation return grid, but I wasn’t 100% convinced that it would go smoothly. Anyway, I’m happy to report that it worked great. I found a return grid with a very fine mesh and a robust airflow and I carefully cut my fingernails just in front of it and sure enough, all the pieces went in the right direction and stuck to the surface of the grid. In the end I only had to vacuum clean.
Another thing we like to do on the weekend, if it sort of matches the prescribed usage rate of food, is to refill our boxes of dishes in Node 1.
Food supplies are organized by type, like meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts, breakfast, etc… when we get a new package out, like the one I’m holding in the picture, we scan it and move it to the “deployed food” location in the inventory system, so the ground always knows where we stand with food. Little boxes, like the ones you can see in the left part of the pictures, serve as our kitchen shelves to store the deployed food packages in Node 1. There’s a label on the front of each box to note the date on which that type of food was last replenished: this way we can make sure we’re not going through the food too fast!
Today I have take over from Terry what we call “The Duty”, a weekly rotation involving a number of administrative and housekeeping responsibilities: turning on the lights in the morning, turning them off in the evening, closing the shutters of the Cupola windows at night, but also running our Daily Planning Conferences with the control centers and keeping an eye on the Daily Summary. This latter is a document that is uploaded every morning to ISS and contains some critical information for the safety of the Station (for the case we had a major failure and we went Loss of Com with the ground), as well as a Q&A section: questions for the crew and answers to questions the crew had earlier. It also has the manning roster of all the control centers for the shifts of the day, so we can always know who is on console in Houston, Huntsville, Munich, Tsukuba and Moscow.