• Question: What would happen if something went wrong on the Space Station?

    Asked by Charlotte :) to Simon, Alex, Julia on 14 Dec 2015. This question was also asked by The Bear.
    • Photo: Simon Challis

      Simon Challis answered on 14 Dec 2015:

      Hi Charlotte!

      Good question! It really depends on what goes wrong. We are used to things not working in space. In most cases it is not a big problem since we build alot of redundancy into our equipment so it can keep working even if something fails. For the important failures that could impact the crew an alarm is triggered both audio and visual onboard and on the ground through a system we call the caution and warning system.

      Of these failures there are 4 we take very seriously indeed. These are called Emergencies and consist of:

      – FIRE
      – DEPRESS
      – AMMONIA

      These are so serious they are considered life threatening and when one of these events happens both the crew and the ground stop everything they are doing and execute their standard procedures to ensure that the crew is first safe from these failures and then works to contain or stop them to protect the ISS itself.

      We train for these events regularly on-board and on the ground so everyone is very well prepared for them.

      One final note: Perhaps one kind of failure that we have also fairly often which you probably would never think about it then the crew cannot “find” something. This can sometimes stop an experiment quickly if there are no spares. But we try to minimise this kind of problem by trying to track where everything is all the time!