A stay in space is not easy for astronauts on the International Space Station. This week, a third outing was scheduled for Thomas Pesquet and his American counterpart to finish installing the solar panels. For his Japanese colleague, it was a maintenance mission, as the Frenchman recounts in this tweet.
While we are busy preparing / carrying out a spacewalk, someone has to keep running the ISS! Aki has taken care of it almost on his own lately: maintenance, and he even found the time to do a timelapse of us. pic.twitter.com/pPBE2XMkRg
– Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) June 24, 2021
Because the ISS requires maintenance and monitoring, especially when repairs are necessary … or when space debris touches an articulated arm. What happened recently. The subject did not escape the students of the Auzouville-sur-Saâne school (Seine-Maritime) in Normandy. They are interested this Saturday in the repairs in the ISS.
Camille, 8 years old, asks Thomas Pesquet the question: “We saw in class that there is an impact on the articulated arm, where does this impact come from? Is it serious and how are you going to fix it?” Thomas Pesquet confirms: a debris, “like a small pebble for example which floats in space”, crossed the path of the ISS!
“The small pebble hit the robotic arm, there is a small damage but our systems are made to resist that (…) It’s not very serious, the robotic arm works very well (…) So we’re not going to fix it just yet. “ The astronaut used it for his space trip!
Timothé, 9 years old, wonders in turn: “Is it difficult to repair the ISS?” VSit depends, answers the astronaut. Inside the ISS, “It’s almost like on Earth except that everything flies, everything floats, you have to be a little careful when you tinker.” On the other hand, when a repair is necessary outside the station, it gets complicated, because you have to go out in a diving suit with “big gloves”, which is not very easy to handle the objects or it can be dangerous.
Around Valentin, 9 years old : “I wanted to know if you had done any training to repair objects in the ISS?” Affirmative, answers the astronaut: “Yes, I did some training. During training, we learn how all the systems around us work and how to fix them when they don’t.”
The astronaut therefore followed DIY training: “We did that especially on airplanes” in an airport, because the technologies are similar, but also to the European Space Agency in Cologne in Germany. “You learn to tinker: you drill, screw, nail, do electronics … to be able to fix the Space Station when it’s not working. It’s part of the job.” Not to mention the teams on Earth, made up of experts, who help astronauts from a distance.
Finally, to finish, Amandine ask the astronaut if they have “a stock of parts to repair broken down objects”. Bolts, screws … there are some in stock in the ISS “but also parts outside, large equipment” spare, says the astronaut.
On this page, you can listen to this new episode of “The Space Show” in full, where astronaut Thomas Pesquet answers children’s questions about life aboard the ISS. A meeting to listen to every Saturday at 10:44 am and 12:50 pm on News i radio and to find in podcast.