Behind the scenes of an astronaut’s life in space

Behind the scenes of an astronaut’s life in space
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In 2021, we celebrate 60 years since Yuri Gagarin became the first man in the world to fly into space. Since then, some 566 people have repeated his feat, and the reality of their daily lives in orbit continues to fascinate us. Fortunately, astronauts are eager to share information about their life in space and we now know what a typical day on the orbital station (ISS) might look like.

What clothes do astronauts wear?

Until recently, astronauts did not remove their special spacesuit during their entire stay in orbit. Nowadays, the crew wears undershirts with shorts or overalls on a daily basis, and thick socks instead of shoes. The clothing on board is not washed. They are packed in a special container and then burned in the atmosphere. All clothing has zippers and Velcro, and since items on board cannot lie loose, pockets are also important – the more the better.

Can you play sports in space?

There are several workout machines on board the space station, and using them is not only possible, but necessary. Astronauts are required to do sports, because at zero gravity, human muscles atrophy. There are treadmills on the station. To exercise, astronauts tie themselves to them with special straps. The ISS is also equipped with exercise bikes and a special device that simulates gravity and allows you to perform a whole set of exercises.

Toilet use and hygiene

The first astronauts wore diapers, which are now also used, but only during spacewalks, launch and landing. The toilet works on the principle of a vacuum – a rare flow of air sucks up solid waste, which goes into a bag. This in turn is detached and dropped into a special container, and another takes its place. The filled containers are sent into space, where they burn up in the atmosphere. Using a toilet requires great precision – you have to aim very precisely at a small hole, so before the flight the crew undergoes special training in this area.

And what about personal hygiene? It turns out that this is not an easy matter. Astronauts cleanse their skin mainly with wet wipes and towels, although there is also a special plastic shower on the ISS. Even one glass of water is enough to wash the whole body, as all the liquid clings to the skin. Your head is washed with a special shampoo that doesn’t need to be rinsed, and the toothpaste after cleaning your teeth unfortunately needs to be swallowed.


Tubes of freeze-dried food have become a symbol of cosmic lifestyle. These are products from which 98% of water has been removed, which significantly reduces their weight and volume. To eat them, you have to pour hot water into the bag. The menu is quite varied – chicken fillet, beef tongues, puréed pork, omelet and various kinds of soups. The station also has canned and individually packaged food in one-bite form, such as bread.

How do astronauts sleep?

In zero gravity, the place to sleep is indifferent because the body is floating anyway. What is important, however, is to securely and adequately strap yourself somewhere. On the ISS, sleeping bags with locks are attached directly to the walls in the cabins. Such sleeping bags contain the crew’s personal belongings, pictures of relatives, music players, etc. All small items are tucked under special rubber bands on the walls or attached with Velcro. There are also many handrails on the station to make moving around easier.

Main photo: Brian McGowan/

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