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A Day in the Life Aboard the International Space Station

    An astronaut putting together a model of the International Space Station

    Many crew members enjoy looking out the windows and taking pictures of Earth in their free time. Image Credit: Fred Sayers

    Free Time in Space


    Living in space is not just all work and no play. Astronauts like to have fun, too. If you're staying on the International Space Station for a few months, it is certainly okay to look out the window, play with your food or tease your crewmates once in awhile. Fun is an essential ingredient to the quality of life.

    Astronauts need a break from their busy schedules when they are orbiting Earth. Days or even months of straight work is certain to cause stress among space workers. That is why flight planners on Earth schedule time each day so astronauts can relax, exercise and have some fun. Station crew members even manage to have fun while working. Experiments in space sometimes involve ordinary toys and how microgravity affects them.

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    Cartoon of astronaut reading a book

    Crew members can bring books with them, read them on a computer or borrow them from the station library. Image Credit: Fred Sayers

    A popular pastime while orbiting the Earth is simply looking out the window. Inside the International Space Station, crew members have numerous windows they can look out. Astronauts often comment on their fascination and awe as they look at the Earth spin beneath them with its multiple shades and textures. Sunsets and sunrises are also very spectacular, occurring every 45 minutes above the Earth's atmosphere.

    Aboard the space station, crew members have many opportunities to relax and play. Like most people who work full time, astronauts get weekends off. On any given day, crew members can watch movies, play music, read books, play cards and talk to their families. They have an exercise bike, a treadmill and various other equipment to help keep their bodies in shape. During their off time, they certainly take time out to play games and generally have a good time.


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Additional Resources

  • Spaced Out Sports logo

    Spaced Out Sports  →

    Spaced Out Sports challenges students to design or redesign a game for astronauts to play in space. Submissions are due March 16, 2012.

  • Graphic of Donald Pettit

    Saturday Morning Science  →

    Donald Pettit of Expedition Six used his time aboard the ISS to shed the light of science on a variety of subjects. Subjects include auras, surface tension, photography, eating in space, vortex rings and gyroscopes in space. Pettit's videos provide an interesting and educational experience.

  • Rex Walheim in an orange spacesuit

    Spending Time Outside

    Astronaut Rex Walheim will help make the space station bigger during spacewalks.