• Question: Do you always Have to be at the controller making sure everything is going how it should be?

    Asked by Holly to Simon on 7 Dec 2015. This question was also asked by ._summer._.
    • Photo: Simon Challis

      Simon Challis answered on 7 Dec 2015:

      Hey 685nch28!

      Thanks alot for the great question! The answer is YES and NO ;-).

      The astronauts on-board the ISS like Tim Peake are trained to be able to live and run the ISS without the ground. The ISS itself is also designed to operate almost automatically. Both of these elements are necessary to ensure the crew remains safe in Emergency situations on-board like fire, decompression or toxic release because there could be scenarios in which the crew lose communication with the ground (like Mark Watney in the Martian; have you seen that film?)

      However routine operations could not really be performed without the ground. We support the planning and execution of all routine maintenance, and science experiments. In order to do that effectively we are on-console 24hours a day, 7 days a week. We are also there to assist in those emergency cases since we can do a lot for the crew as they step into their emergency procedures!

      As for me personally its not possible for me or anyone to be on-console 24hrs in a row so we split the day into 3 shifts and usually work 8 to 9hours a day….