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What is the time zone at the International Space Station?

What is the time zone at the International Space Station?

Astronauts watch 16 sunrises and sunsets every day on ISS. Their days obviously do not follow this rhythm: their daily activities are based on a very specific time zone.

« I’m lucky to sleep well, which is my number one skill (…) I closed the windows at midnight, got up late in the morning, and it was 15 minutes before the start of the day. “A few days later His visit to I.S., Thomas Basket gave himself to the gameAn interview With the press on April 30, 2021, Numerama interviewed the French astronaut to find out how he managed his sleep rhythms in space.

So Thomas Baskett is one of the station crew’s “night owls” and “late wake-ups”. But what do we mean by this? Flying about 400 kilometers from Earth, the ISS completes a complete revolution in 90 minutes. At 28 800 km.. Apparently, compared to what we know on Earth, the concept of day and night on the ship is sad: every day, astronauts know 15 to 16 Sunrises and sunsets.

The ISS astronauts live at their own speed, with the sun’s visibility not set at these moments in a 24 hour cycle: they are set in a specific time zone, Thomas Baskett mentions when he tells them to go to bed at midnight.

April 28, Sochi Wakata and Thomas Pesket at ISS. // Source: Flickr / CC / NASA Johnson (carved photo)

A time zone between Moscow and Houston is halfway through

The amount of time used at the station is Integrated Universal Time or UTC (“Integrated Global Time”). Why this choice? ” The time zone for the UTC station was chosen because it is located in the middle of all the partners of the International Space Station, allowing each of the two main mission control centers (Moscow and Houston) to cover half. », Summarizes the European Space Agency in This release. UTC is one hour behind Central European Standard Time (CED, or UTC + 1), which is used in France (when) Winter time).

ESA astronauts are also fitted with the clock Omega Speedmaster X33 Skywalker, Which has been tested by the space agency and is fit for use in space. Clock Created With the intervention of French astronaut Jean-Franசois Clervo, who flew three times in space in the 1990s. Based on his ideas for improving the watches he was wearing at the time, the ESA has filed a patent petition. The Swiss luxury watchdog Omega, ESA, has also applied for the patent to upgrade its Speedmaster model, which was already brought to the Aldrin moon by bus in 1969.

On a typical day for UTC time, astronauts get up at 6:30 am and go to bed at 10:15 pm (but every astronaut, like Thomas Baskett, can determine when to go to bed). Astronauts sleep in zero-gravity, small individual and sound-resistant chambers, sliding into a sleeping bag hanging on the wall. The ISS has six chambers, but there may be times when more crew are aboard – temporarily, when there are changes between crews on board.

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