Simulated Mission to the ISS: 3. Tour Your New Home

As you approach the station, you might catch a glimpse of it through the small round window on the Soyuz. Credit: NASA
Flight controllers on the ground steer the Soyuz for docking. You and your crewmates watch closely, ready to take manual control if something goes wrong. The Soyuz in this image is docking with the Rassvet module. Credit: NASA
After docking successfully, you open the hatch and float into the station. This video shows Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques, and Oleg Kononenko boarding the ISS on December 3, 2018. Credit: Canadian Space Agency
Now in comfortable clothes, you stretch out after hours in that cramped Soyuz. Floating in microgravity feels amazing! It's normal to feel slightly nauseous at first because your balance system is temporarily confused. Your brain may need a few hours to adjust to the unexpected combination of signals coming from your eyes and inner ears. This image shows Canadian astronaut Julie Payette on the ISS in 2009. Credit: NASA
Now the station is yours to explore! The Welcome to the ISS page has links to more astronaut-led video tours.
The domed Cupola with its seven Earth-facing windows is a favorite place for astronauts to take a break and contemplate the beauty of their home planet. Astronauts photograph scientific targets and also take many photos for fun — often hundreds per day! This image shows Chris Cassidy using a 400 mm lens. Credit: NASA
From the Cupola, astronauts witness amazing natural phenomena. This sequence of images from June 12, 2009 shows Sarychev Volcano in the Kuril Islands erupting explosively for the first time in 20 years. It gave scientists a rare opportunity to see the 3D structure of a volcanic ash plume. Credit: NASA
In the daytime, you see clouds, storms, and landforms. At night you see lightning and the lights of cities. These are time-lapse images sequences that are sped up; the space station doesn't really orbit at this speed. Credit: NASA
Jack Fischer took this photo of evaporation ponds in the Great Salt Lake, Utah. He said, “Oh my, tell me that doesn’t look like a watercolor tray? The Earth surprises me with its beauty every day.”
This photo of the snaking Colorado River was taken by French astronaut Thomas Pesquet. Credit: NASA/ESA
Astronaut Thomas Pesquet took this photo of Europe at night, describing it as a "carpet of lights." Credit: NASA/ESA