How Things Work: Space Station Steering- page 4 | Photos | Air & Space Magazine
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How Things Work: Space Station Steering

How do you maneuver a million-pound spacecraft?

Avoid the Jitters

(Matt Hale)

On Earth the ISS would weigh 500 tons, but in near-weightlessness, even small forces can push such a massive object out of kilter. Astronauts using exercise equipment or maneuvering the station's robotic arm can disturb the spacecraft enough to require the CMGs to compensate. Certain experiments sensitive to very low levels of gravity might require that these activities be suspended temporarily, for maximum "quiet."

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