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US astronaut Terry Virts prepares to take a series of scientific photos. He lives since November 23, 2014 on the space station and is currently the director of Expedition 43. In May 2015, he is expected to return to Earth. Photo: NASA

US-Astronaut Terry Virts bereitet sich vor, um eine Reihe wissenschaftlicher Fotos zu machen. Er lebt seit dem 23. November 2014 auf der Raumstation und ist dort aktuell Direktor der Expedition 43. Im Mai 2015 wird er voraussichtlich auf die Erde zurückkehren. Foto: NASA

US astronaut Terry Virts prepares to take a series of scientific photos. He lives since November 23, 2014 on the space station and is currently the director of Expedition 43. In May 2015, he is expected to return to Earth. Photo: NASA

Six crew members currently have the ISS, including five men and one woman. Four of them stay on the space station for about six months, as is usual with ISS expeditions. The Russian Mikhail Kornienko and the American Scott Kelly will live there for a year. The mission is considered as preparation for possible future voyages to Mars.

A manned trip to Mars is not yet planned, but it is quite certain that it would take more than a year. The two astronauts of the "One-Year-Crew" are therefore to test how the long time in weightlessness affects the human body. They started at the end of March 2015 and are scheduled for return in March 2016.

A house in orbit

During this time, they have to settle for the limited "living space" that the space station offers them at a height of more than 400 kilometers. With 388 cubic meters, however, the habitable space on the ISS is at least as large as a medium-sized detached house. On the other hand, the whole station, with all external elements, covers more than a football field.

The six crew members currently living on the ISS are among the expeditions numbered 42 and 43. Over the nearly 15 years of operation of the space station, more than 210 astronauts have spent time there. Our photo gallery shows moments captured by the crews of the last missions. Their everyday life differs in everything from that on earth and yet every now and then is surprisingly unspectacular. You also eat on the ISS, sleep and even celebrate a little Christmas.

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