International Space Station Caution Alar…m [science |2016-04-18]

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Ever wonder how the International Space Station alarms sound? This caution alert is heard in control centres and on the Space Station accompanied by flashing lights for non-urgent anomalies.

Astronauts rarely need to act on these alarms - ground control takes care of them. They are often suppressed at night to ensure a quiet night's sleep for the crew on the International Space Station.

This sound was sent to us by the Columbus Control Centre, near München, Germany, the operations centre for ESA astronauts and the Columbus laboratory, part of the orbiting weightless research centre.

When a caution is “inhibited” it does not get processed by the central computer of the Space Station. When Cautions are “suppressed” an alarm is triggered on a Station laptop or ground control display, but "Lights and Tones" that would wake astronauts at night are activated. Of course, very specific guidelines exist to decide when an alarm event can be turned off or suppressed. Cautions are not time-critical – and the astronauts only need to do something if control centres are out of contact with the Space Station for some reason and cannot analyse the data or send corrective commands.

Image credit: ESA/NASA

Audio credit: ESA, CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Licence : All Rights Reserved