ISS false alarm shows these 2 important lessons

Various news sources report that yesterday Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) evacuated into the Russian segment after an ammonia leak alarm went off.  Here is coverage on Space News.

There are many lessons we here on Earth can draw from this.  Here are two big ones.

First, always know what your emergency exit plans are!  When you are dealing with complex systems in aerospace, this should include a checklist.  But in life it’s a valuable practice too.  When I’m driving, I routinely scan the road shoulders so I know where I can pull over if I blow a tire or have to take evasive maneuvers or have some other emergency.  When you enter a restaurant or building, do you scan for exits?  Some might consider it paranoia but you have to admit it helps to keep your brain sharp and your wits about you if something bad happens.

The second big lesson is, make sure someone else has your back.  As astronaut Scott Kelly said in the NBC nightly news coverage,

“We have to rely on each other literally for our own lives.”

That’s why it’s very important to find others in the profession you can build relationships with (Tip #3 in my book).  And one of the best relationships you can build is one with a mentor (Tip #9).  It could save you in a future career emergency!

There are certainly other lessons we can learn from this stressful episode on the ISS.  Any others you can think of?

About Brett Rocket Scientist

Brett creates artful work in engineering, ideas, and innovation. In addition to 2 degrees, 3 patents, and over 15 years experience in aerospace engineering, he is the author of several books to foster STEM careers. He volunteers his time and skills as an officer with professional societies.

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