Monday, January 26, 2009

ISS Guided Tour

NASA Television “sprung” a request on Expedition 18 astronaut Mike Fincke, who presented a fantastic tour of the International Space Station, recently released to YouTube. Also guest starring Sandy Magnus exercising on the bicycle in the Destiny Laboratory, and cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov on the floating treadmill.

Like any good host, Mike begins by apologizing for the clutter as they "re-model," then narrates his surroundings, beginning with the 15 flags of all the participating nations. He floats through the Unity & Harmony nodes, the Japanese Kibō module, the European Space Agency's Columbus module and finally the Russian module, including the Soyuz lifeboat/vehicle.

Highlights include the resistive exercise devices, food containers, lab freezers, hatches, crew quarters, oxygen and water recovery systems, robotics, space suits, experiment stations, functional cargo block (FGB) and storage spaces, where he emphasizes that you can easily use three-dimensions in space... and indeed, the "floor" or "ceiling" become relative, as every inch seems covered!

My favorite part is where he points the camera out the window to see the robot arm and the solar arrays, as the ISS serenely passes ice bergs over the Indian Ocean. A couple times, he lets go of the camera to use both hands for a task, and you can feel it floating freely until he grasps it again. Micro-gravity! Wild! Later, Mike points out the window again to view land masses and the curvature of the planet as they orbit…

Running time is about 35 minutes. Watch with the kids!