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The Station - Wheat for Oxygenliving in space

Recreation and Sleeping

Just as on Earth, recreation and sleep are important to good health when working in space. Astronauts perform a scientifically planned exercise program, largely to counter the atrophy some muscles experience in a weightless environment. Cards and other games, books and taped music can be taken onboard. Tape recorders are available.

Sleeping accommodations aboard the Shuttle vary, depending on the requirements of the particular mission. On the first flight, astronauts Young and Crippen slept in the commander and pilot seats. They wanted to be instantly available if needed. Later crews slept in their seats, in sleeping bags, in bunks, or by simply tethering themselves to the orbiter walls.

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The sleeping bags are cocoon-like restraints attached to the lockers where crew provisions are stored. In microgravity there is no "up" and the astronauts can sleep as comfortably in the vertical position as the horizontal.

A bunkbed kit was made available by the time of the STS-9 mission. Crew members could sleep in three horizontal bunks when these were installed and an extra vertical bunk was available if needed.

Each bunk comes complete with an individual light, communications station, fan, sound suppression blanket and sheets with microgravity restraints. The bunks even have pillows.

When the bunks must be removed to allow room in the mid deck for experiments or extra equipment, up to four optional sleeping bags can be used instead.

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*Click on images for captions
Photo credits for all images: NASA.

Additional materials in this section courtesy of NASA.


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