Show Must Go On! ISS Astronauts Need to Be Resupplied; Soyuz Needs to Get Up Into Space!
Roscosmos will provide its American colleagues with all necessary data on the Baikonur accident. The Russian specialists seek understanding on the part of the USA and hope the accident won't affect the relations between Moscow and Washington in space cooperation. As for NASA, it has pleaded to restrain from rash judgment and guaranteed it would work with the Russians in order to reveal the cause of why the ship didn't get to orbit. Also, the head of the Aeronautics and Space Agency stressed the main thing is the crew's health and safety. All other things are for later. Nevertheless, the next flight is scheduled for December. As of now, it hasn't been canceled. But experts say it's quite possible that the schedule will be shifted. In that case, the scientists on the ISS can be left without cargo delivery for an indefinite period. Today, food was on the way among other things.
Maria Grigorieva found out if they can do without it.
— Maria, greetings.
— Good evening.
— Is it true they will starve on the ISS because of the accident?
— It'll never come to this, indeed. All possible emergencies were calculated on Earth multiple times.
The typical rate of consumption in space is 600 grams of food and 2.5 liters of water per day. There is always a 90-day emergency ration on board. In fact, it can last much longer because the ration allows for a triple amount of food per crew member. All reserves on the ISS are made to be enough till the next start but one. Also, there are personal emergency rations for each astronaut. There are more than 300 items on the menu on the ISS. Due to dietary diversity, dishes are repeated once every 16 days. Because the ISS crew is not full now, there are even more reserves in fact.
Oleg Kotov, cosmonaut: «The consumption of the three crew members is less than usual. There's also a plan to carry out additional launches. From the point of view of providing the station with resources the accident didn't affect the station in any capacity».
By the way, the Soyuz that blasted off today wasn't tasked with replenishing the water and food supply. It was carrying only 64 kilograms of payload.
Ivan Moiseev, Institute of Space Policy: «Most of the payload is delivered by the Progress, about 2.5 tons. The Soyuz can carry about 100 kilograms. This Soyuz was carrying a container with supplies instead of another astronaut. Usually, this is a task for the Progress. In terms of provisions, this is not much of a loss».
There will be enough oxygen for the astronauts because modern air-revitalization and air-filtering systems installed on the station can almost fully cover their demands. More than half of the oxygen is obtained from chemical reactions of the carbon dioxide that the crew members exhale. The rest is obtained by water electrolysis. They won't die from thirst either. More than 80% of the air and water demand is covered by modern purification systems.
It should be remembered that water in orbit is literally worth its weight in gold. Oxygen is also produced from it. That's why water on the ISS is extracted from everything — processed urine and even by dehydrating feces. Indeed, such water is for technical use only. The most of water is regenerated from atmospheric condensation. In other words, from vapor.
Oleg Novitsky, cosmonaut: «We get the same bag for tea and, this time, sugar, we put it on the dispenser, and turn on the faucet. It turns on a little pump. As you can see water is coming into the bag. The bag's volume is about 200 grams.»
There are many times more drugs than the crew may need in real situations. There are 18 medical packs in the Russian segment and 9 more in the American segment. In case of an emergency, there are means to ensure the survival of an injured or ill member for 72 hours.
3 days is the maximum time the ground services need to prepare to receive the crew. In case of an emergency, astronauts can leave the station in a matter of minutes. There is the Soyuz MS-09 attached to the station on which they flew there.
— Thank you. Maria Grigorieva on the emergency reserves on the ISS.