Sunday, April 25, 2021

Vaccinated Astronauts

      If you had been wondering, everyone aboard the two most recent personnel flights to IOSS -- a Russian Soyuz and an American Dragon -- has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.  The four astronauts who will be returning next week went up before vaccines were available, and after they leave, the human complement in space will be one hundred percent vaccinated.  NASA takes it seriously, and so do their ISS partners.  The surviving Apollo astronauts were vaccinated early on.

      Unless Boeing's Starliner spacecraft get unexpectedly ahead of schedule, it looks like the next flight up will be another Soyuz, carrying one one cosmonaut, one actor/director and one actress: the Russians are going to be filming a feature movie aboard ISS.

      A movie filmed in space?  Arthur C. Clarke predicted this in 1952, though a bit later in the progress of manned space exploration.  Islands In The Sky holds up pretty well even now -- we didn't get the manned geosynchronous television relay stations he describes and his microgravity space station in low Earth orbit has a larger (and very much more British!) staff than the real-world version, but Clarke's depictions of the challenges of living and working in orbit are spot-on.  Similar to the Heinlein juveniles -- and originally published as one of the Winston SF books that were aimed squarely at the same market -- I think it's among his best early work.  If you have ever watched the Change of Command Ceremony on ISS, you'll find Clarke's "Inner Station" a familiar place.

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