Bill Coombes visited our club last week to tell us all about the International Space Station (ISS). Bill is a NASA Education Ambassador and has spoken on many occasions to groups including schools on the subject.
At more than 400 tonnes and travelling at over 17,000 miles an hour, it is quite a feat of human endeavour. It experiences 16 sunrises and sunsets every day and for the astronauts who spend 6 months at a time operating it, it is an experience like no other.
Bill explained the history of the station, how is has been assembled from its original very small space over a number of years, and the sort of work that astronauts undertake whilst on the station. There was also a fairly graphic explanation via a video made by a previous female astronaut of how the ‘residents’ undertake some of their personal requirements (which I won’t repeat here!).
The station was supposed to be decommissioned in the early 2020s but its life is being extended and we can expect many more missions to take place before it is finally replaced by whatever comes next. Topically, of course, the American Space X module is currently being trialled to enable the USA to once again launch missions to the ISS and we will now watch these developments with increased interest.
On behalf of the club, Rotarian John Babbage gave a very grateful vote of thanks for an extremely interesting presentation.