Astronaut daily life in space (ISS)

Astronauts have every minute planned by ground mission controllers. Their day starts at six o’clock int he morning (GMT time zone) to half past ten in the afternoon.

They work 12 hours a day in the International Space Station (ISS), a large complex ship that needs constant attention, care and repairs. With a bit of science and fun.

Mike Hopkins, NASA CC BY-NC 2.0
Mike Hopkins, NASA CC BY-NC 2.0

Daily live

The micro gravity is the mayor change in the environment, that is the factor that allows them to float, but, everything floats with them.

They have a hygiene routing in the morning, wash the hair (with a rinseless shampoo), brush the teeth, shave (with a vacuum) and go to the bathroom (the most difficult part).

The astronauts need to tie with leg restraints and use a vacuum cleaner like toilet (similar to modern aircraft toilets).

They have three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and free drinks and snacks.

They have no refrigerators, so the food they eat must be prepared for long time conservation. They have an oven to heat food and water to prepare dehydrated foods like spaghetti or cheese. Also they can eat fresh food like fruits when a cargo spacecraft arrives.

Also, the condiments are in liquid form, because the microgravity and the delicate equipments of the space station.

They primary work is to perform science and research focuses in microgravity and space. Also, they have to do the maintenance and build the space station, adding new computer equipment or a new spacecraft module.

An important part of the daily routine is the exercise to prevent bone and muscle loss, in average, they exercise two hours per day with modified equipment.

In their free time, they can look the Earth trough the many windows and watch sunsets and sunrises every 45 minutes. Also, they can watch movies, listen and play music (there are music instruments one from the MIR space station), read books, play games…

Samantha Cristoforety, Cupola module, ESA/NASA

To finish the day, they need to sleep, but in space, there is no up or down. Also, because of microgravity, the astronauts are weightless and need to attach themselves to avoid floating. They have small cabin, a personal space, in the space station.

Standard crew day:

06:00 AM – Crew wake.  Clean up, eat, read news and messages uplinked overnight.
07:30 AM – Morning Daily Planning Conference (DPC).  Astronauts and Cosmonauts sync up with Houston, Huntsville, Munich, Tskuba, and Moscow before executing their day.
07:55 AM – Work prep, review procedures and gather stowage to support the day’s activities.
08:15 AM – Crew available work time. Science experiments, preventative and corrective maintenance, visiting vehicle preparations, stowage operations,   environment sampling (acoustics, surfaces, water), public affairs events, misc medical tasks including daily 2.5 hrs of exercise.
01:00 PM – Lunch
02:00 PM – Crew available work time (see above).
06:15 PM – Evening work prep, review procedures and timeline for next day.
07:05 PM – Evening DPC.  Discuss comments/questions about the day executed.  Brief highlight for changes to tomorrow’s plan (if required).
07:30 PM – Dinner, relax, email, organize images for downlink, watch a movie, look at Earth!
09:30 PM – Crew Sleep (8.5 hrs)


Flight Controllers console display live data website.

Columbus Control Center (ESA), live astronauts schedule/timeline.

Flight time timeline copy (2000 – 2014)


A Day in the Life Aboard the International Space Station (NASA)

A day in space (ESA)

Space Station, NASA blog


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