I’ve been interested in space travel for quite some time. I’m far from a science nerd, so when space travel blogs start taking about “telemetry”, my eyes glaze over, but I do enjoy reading about what’s going on in space. I used to follow the NASA status updates daily when a shuttle mission was in progress, and was sad to see the shuttles retired.
A few days ago, a Dutch astronaut, André Kuipers, blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan along with a Russian cosmonaut and an American astronaut towards the International Space Station (ISS). I’ve been following along on the European Space Agency (ESA)’s website.
Andre’s journey is being called “PromISSe”, meaning “Programme for Research in Maximizing the orbit from the Space Station Inspiration for Europe”. The PromISSe blog is a great read here. NASA’s blogs are very scientific and template-based: “So and so woke up at this time to this music played by this artist for this astronaut. He or she will be doing this today, and giving interviews to. The next release will come at this time.”
The ESA’s PromISSe blog is much more geared towards laymen. It’s written in English with contributions from a variety of people, and includes charts and videos explaining things. If you are interested in space travel, it’s well worth checking out.
As an example of what you can learn reading the blog, it revealed that a few days before blasting off, astronauts begin sleeping in beds that have the foot-end tilted up, and also spend some time laying on a tile-table with their feet well above their head. The reason being that in space, with no gravity, there is nothing to cause blood to pool in the lower part of our bodies like it does on Earth. It’s just one more thing to get used to, and by sleeping in special beds here on Earth helps acclimate Astronauts to this before they arrive in space.
Andre has a blog (in Dutch only) and a twitter account (in both English and Dutch) that you can follow as well.