Space Station Makeover

The International Space Station is about to get what amounts to an extreme makeover that will make it an easier place to live and work. Jim Bell explains.
Right now, the space station is a three bedroom one-bath apartment with kitchenette. It's about to become a five bedroom condo with two baths and two kitchenettes. New furnishings will include a high-tech recycling water filter, a new fridge, an extra toilet, more laptop hookups and new exercise machines. Johnson Space Center spokesman Kyle Herring says the space station crew will grow from three to six next year and it needs more space.

"And in order to do that we have to increase the sleeping quarters. We have to increase the housing capability basically, the environmental control and life support system aboard the complex as well."

Herring says the goal is to make living conditions on the space station less Spartan and reduce the stresses of living in space for long periods.

"You have to learn how to live with someone in a cramped environment, even though the space station obviously is not that cramped any longer because it's so big, you have to learn how to live with people, inter-act with people continuously."

The space shuttle Endeavour will deliver materials for the make-over when it launches Friday, and the current space station crew will do the work and install all the new stuff.

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.