Nov 24, 2010

Astronauts Don Their Big Boy Pants for Trip Home

Guess what I just learned?! Doug has to put on his Big-Boy pants before he can come home.

10th in series on ISS, (more like a side note)-
OK so they don't call 'em Big Boy Pants, that's my interpretation, and frankly, now that I think about it, I really don't want to know if they do wear Big Boy pants in the Soyuz. During launch and entry they don an "altitude protection system" - helmet, communications cap, "pressure garment" (don't want to know), anti-exposure, anti-gravity suit, gloves, boots, etc. -
-But what I'm talking about, prior to leaving the space station, they don a very special pair of pants. Having been in micro gravity for over 5 months, returning to gravity, as you might expect, will be dramatic. The heart and arteries haven't had to work as hard up there in the ISS so when they return to earth's gravity and attempt to stand up, they will get very light-headed. To pre-empt some of this, the astronauts on the ISS have to put on some pants that simulate the effect of gravity on the cardiovascular system. I think they do this by inflating really tight, keeping the blood in the upper half of the body near the brain; however, technology has improved so much, maybe they work in a different way, I'm not really sure. This might be what they call the G-Suit -- I don't know. There's a lot I don't know, so let's just stick to "Big Boy Pants."
-Here's a look at the returning crew inside the Soyuz - their ride home. The shiny silver dome in front of Fyodor (center) is the hatch. When they land and that hatch opens, they'll get their first breath of fresh air in nearly 6 months. Photos used by permission from Doug's twitter account @Astro_Wheels.

Expedition 25 will board the Soyuz on Thanksgiving Day, 4:30 eastern time to head back to Russia. The astronauts must be getting very excited and hopefully having a lot of fun in their special pants. Keep the flight in your prayers.
Doug's Bio
Beautiful Pictures from space on Doug's Twitter
My first ISS post.
My second ISS post: Change of Command
My third ISS post. To Infinity & Beyond: A Young Boy's Dream?
My fourth ISS post. ISS: Home Away From Home
My fifth ISS post. One Big Science Lab
My 2nd fifth ISS post. No Vacancy
My sixth ISS post. In Which Doug has a Screw Loose, I mean a Loose Screw
My seventh ISS post. Personal note from Doug about working with the Russians
My eighth ISS post. Doug talks about the emergency on the ISS
My ninth ISS post. Everyday Life on the ISS

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