TAQueries: Maintaining Pressure on the ISS

I haven’t done a TAQueries in a while and this’ll be a very quick one as I don’t have much spare time on my hands. I’ll just get straight to the question. There are multiple systems that ensure the habitability of the International Space Station is ideal for the human body. These systems intricately control parameters, ranging anywhere from atmospheric pressure and oxygen levels to water supply and fire detection, to make the stay on the ISS as safe as possible for the astronauts. Every individual system is a small piece of a larger system called “Environmental Control and Life Support System”, or ECLSS for short. Deepak’s question, however, was specifically about atmospheric pressure.

To maintain atmospheric pressure, a spacecraft has to be built from heavy-duty materials that will be able to withstand the force with which the cabin will be pushed apart once air is pumped inside. Which is about 14.5 pounds per square inch. All cabins in the international space station are airtight, not allowing any air to escape to the vacuum of space. This is achieved through clever engineering solutions like the O-ring for example, about which you can watch an informative video right here:

Not quite the answer you were looking for? Be sure to let me know via email: theastrophysicist@hotmail.com or by tweeting at me @ThomasMoszczuk


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