For astronauts who aren’t follicly challenged, a lengthy stay on the International Space Station (ISS) means that at some point a haircut will almost certainly be required.
Just like using a toilet in space, the microgravity conditions aboard the ISS necessitate several adjustments to relevant equipment to ensure the task is carried out in as clean a way as possible.
For space-based haircuts, engineers designed an attachment that connects a hair trimmer to a vacuum cleaner’s hose to ensure that the clippings don’t float off and get in astronauts’ eyes, or clog up vents and other equipment on the orbiting outpost.
Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency recently shared a video (below) showing NASA astronaut Raja Chari performing the role of barber as Maurer received his first-ever haircut in space.
“Step into the space salon where barber @astro_raja is a man of many talents,” Maurer said in a tweet accompanying the video. “Because none of us want hair in our eyes, or – even worse – the @Space_Station systems, our hair clippers come with a vacuum attached. Five stars for this space stylist’s service.”
Step into the space salon where barber @astro_raja is a man of many talents 🚀💈💇♂️ Because none of us want hair in our eyes, or – even worse – the @Space_Station systems, our hair clippers come with a vacuum attached. Five stars for this space stylist's service ⭐️😉 #CosmicKiss pic.twitter.com/dDsXHaSgG5
— Matthias Maurer (@astro_matthias) December 19, 2021
On an earlier mission, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy offered a closer look at the same procedure …
Maurer arrived at the space station in November along with Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron as part of SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission. The astronauts will live and work aboard the ISS for the next six months, so quite a few haircuts will likely take place over that time.
The German astronaut recently showed off a more conventional use for the vacuum cleaner when he strapped one to his back for routine cleaning chores around the orbiting facility.
According to NASA, the space station has the volume of a five-bedroom house — or two Boeing 747 jetliners — so keeping the place clean takes a good deal of time and effort.
For more insight into how astronauts spend their time on the ISS, check out this collection of fascinating videos made by visitors to the station over the years.
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- NASA’s Cygnus docks successfully with ISS despite solar array issue
- Space Station received special visitors 22 years ago today
- NASA to restart spacewalks at ISS following safety scare
- How to watch SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts return to Earth