International Space Station population to soar to six

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nice! A Soyuz blasted off today to carry the extra three astronauts to the station, and naturally each of these countries is excited about their own astronaut that will be joining the crew. Here's the article from CTV in Canada for example.

The presence of six people on the station at the same time will be interesting, as it may give us a few clues about how many people are needed to create the human interaction we find so fascinating. I've recently come to think that one of the main reasons the average person has little interest in space is because we don't know anything about the people up there, and the reason we don't know anything about the people up there is that there's so little interesting interaction between them.

It'll also be interesting to see how happy the three currently residing there will be by the new crew, since the isolation they have in space is complete and total, and the arrival of three people is like...well, I suppose it would be like doubling the size of your family.

Note though that six isn't the largest number of people on the station at any time - when the Space Shuttle arrives the number always swells for a while, but then was always followed by a change of the crew and then a return to a crew of three. Next month Endeavour will launch with a crew of seven to the station, so that will be thirteen people up there at the same time. With that mission we'll have:

David, and
Thomas - all up in the station at the same time.


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