Fire extinguishers, escape routes, what happens if the lights go out

Bayard Street (Now The Hatch Is Floating As Are You) ©MAIERMOUL
Bayard Street (Now The Hatch Is Floating As Are You) ©MAIERMOUL

The International Space Station (ISS) circles the Earth very fast (taking just 90 minutes).

You see incredibly fast sunrises, the Northern and Southerns lights, a comet and feel part of it. I call it a ‘cosmic feeling’. We are part of a moving system with everything turning around each other. Yes, my horizon was enlarged by my experience in space but at the same time, I worry about how limited the planet is, it is not endless.

The first thing you do on arrival is quickly wave to the TV cameras and then you take the space station safety inspection tour and immediately learn how to close the hatches quickly. Normally, you would do this when your feet are firmly on the floor during training. But now the hatch is floating as are you, and it takes an effort to get it down. And you have to fix yourself in order to quickly close the hatch. You find out where oxygen masks are, fire extinguishers, escape routes, what happens if the lights go out …

– André Kuipers, cosmonaut, interview Boskalis magazine