Someone from NASA finally talks about a topic a lot of people are curious about— the amount of personal belongings astronauts can bring to space.
The question involves two things: what items are necessary for an astronaut to survive in the unpredictable environment of space, and what general items do space agencies or private spaceflight firms provide them.
NASA instructor and flight controller Robert Frost answered the question on Quora, according to Forbes. The American space agency provides a single kit alongside crew care packages for their astronauts.
Astronaut Kits In Focus
“The Space Shuttle program instituted a Personal Preference Kit (PPK) that was used to carry personal belongings of each crew member,” he noted on Quora.
A PPK contains 20 individual items with a total weight of 1.5 pounds, with a volume contained in a prescribed 5-inch x 8-inch x 2-inch bag provided by NASA. Soyuz allows a bit more for mass, as an astronaut or cosmonaut can haul up to 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of materials.
A crew care package, on the other hand, contains personal stuff targeted for the crew members’ well-being, including books, CDs, condiments, holiday décor, and religious supplies.
Each astronaut’s clothing allowance can also include personal items categorized under necessary supplies, such as a baseball cap from one’s alma mater.
An Official Flight Kit contains mementos for families and support teams. It can include a crew patch or pin, as well as a personal photo of someone that the astronaut will take a picture of while in orbit, to be returned to eager loved ones when they return.
These Stuff Have Been Smuggled Into Space
Humans’ relatively short stint in spaceflight, however, hasn’t prevented some actual things on Earth to be sneaked into space. New Atlas cited astronaut John Young’s corned beef sandwich back in 1965 when he was blasted off as pilot aboard Gemini 3 in a mission to complete three low Earth orbits.
Young actually shared the sandwich with command pilot Gus Grissom, himself a fan of corned beef.
Other items that had been smuggled into space include a harmonica used in a rendition of “Jingle Bells” from Gemini 6, random number tables on the Apollo 14, a work of art, and even softcore adult material.
The International Space Station recently launched RemoveDebris, the first spacecraft poised to clean up the space junk that had begun to accumulate around Earth.
Created by European firm Airbus, the satellite was sent to the ISS by the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket last April, aimed to address the growing problem of junk mostly coming from destroyed or decommissioned satellites.