How long can you stay in space for?

To date, the longest continuous time a human being has spent in space is 437 days. This feat was experienced by Russian astronaut Valeri Polyakov. As for the total number of days in space, his Russian compatriot Sergei Krikalev takes the cake, with more than 803 days in space, spread over six flights. International Space Station missions, known as expeditions, usually last about six months.

During a mission, there are three to six crew members on board. There are several professional space travelers who come from countries such as the United States, Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan. The Spanish-American space traveler Mike López-Alegria has flown the longest mission of the US space station to date, with 215 days. Former cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov has spent 14 months aboard the Russian space station Mir.

However, space travel used to last only two weeks during the existence of the Space Shuttle. Depending on where you are in space, it'll take between 12 and 26 hours, but if you're near a star, you'll burn to a crisp. Either way, your body will stay that way for a long time. Aside from that, these suits don't include an oxygen supply tank or any additional padding that protects against cosmic radiation, meaning they can't help survive in open space.

Life in space has always fascinated earthlings, and blockbuster movies like The Martian only serve to fan the flames of curiosity. Research has also shown that prolonged periods in space can deregulate the immune system and leave astronauts vulnerable to pathogens, hypersensitivity, and unwanted autoimmune responses. The space shuttle will dock at the International Space Station approximately 24 hours after reaching orbit. Astronauts work in mission control and analyze the different techniques and agendas that the group will use in space, help check the programming of the space station and vehicles, create systems and procedures that will be used during spacewalks or mechanical operations.

The pressure garment and the life support system work together like a “spaceship” and allow astronauts to conduct research on alien lands or perform essential repair work outside the ISS. The group consists of cosmonauts Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin, and NASA space explorer Chris Cassidy. So, while space threatens human life in several ways, the period during which astronauts can survive in their spacesuits boils down to the amount of oxygen the suits contain. The launch of NASA's SpaceX was scheduled for Wednesday, but it had to be delayed due to poor weather conditions.

Jeannie Eschenbrenner
Jeannie Eschenbrenner

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