Written by by P.A. Bazzano, CNN
Fruit was once made available to the astronauts in space — astronauts had their fruits of their labor flown back home in the space shuttles — but both a grapefruit and an orange were available to the astronauts during the shuttle missions.
Now, astronauts have a new fruit source to choose from: their own hands.
“We have a space treadmill here that allows people to do what they do in gravity,” NASA astronaut Anne McClain told reporters during a July 20 update.
According to NASA, the Extreme Environment Habitat (EEH) is equipped with a retractable tray that extends from the treadmill when it’s in use. Once on the ground, the tray is elevated by a forklift for astronauts who then work in the confined space of the HI-SEAS habitat.
The astronauts work out in the confinement of the space station’s module, HI-SEAS. Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
A new addition
The set-up features 27 cups of cherry red Kona Coffee roasted in Hilo, Hawaii.
There’s also a wood table with utensils, a steam table and a workspace complete with a large mirror, all in a basic study area.
The coffee machine runs at full capacity every two hours, water is warmed to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and the coffee is of the highest quality.
The workstation includes a pullout work surface. Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
The spacewalking gear: A large glass window leads to a common viewing area; an office comes with specialized desks and access to a work station where astronauts will pump batteries back to the station.
The treadmill fits within the footprint of the station’s Habitat Module
“Basically it’s as efficient as running the treadmill in the shuttle,” Mike Suffredini, ISS program manager at NASA, told reporters.
The extra room means that in addition to the work performed during spacewalks, astronauts can make in-orbit repairs or reserve working spaces as they are needed, potentially allowing the station to stay in a stable state for longer.
The ISS will now have workstations, an exercise pavilion and storage spaces Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
The treadmill is one of the last of the NASA’s 32 service pods that have occupied a myriad of habitat modules for the past three decades.
“Over time, the service pods were responsible for some pretty monumental engineering feats, from digging down to repair the spacesuits when they’re damaged, to maintaining the power control buses to changing out the heaters when we have hot days and cold nights,” Suffredini said.
The ESA has been testing other plans for the International Space Station Credit: ESA
The ESA won the bid in April to build, operate and maintain the EEH on the ISS, which will also be the first resupply module that will be on the station in the future.
The construction at the ISS could contribute to a space plane even bigger than NASA’s planned Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) X-plane, the Z-2, called the Dauntless space plane.
But according to Suffredini, there is no “JFK” on the horizon: the EH will be used to meet astronaut need during the regular space missions.