Responding to a question thrown out by an audience member at a celebration for Canada Day in Edmonton, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield said that online gaming is impossible on the ISS because Internet connection speeds are on par with dial-up. This is because the space station travels at about five miles per second. Holy Batman!
Hadfield's word echoes those of astronauts Greg Johnson and Ron Garan from a PBS NewsHour webcast back in May.
According to Johnson, who was a pilot for the STS-134 mission, astronauts on the Shuttle "really don't partake in the Internet." Say what? "We've got synchronizations with our emails. It kind of gives us a pseudo-email or pseudo-Internet to communicate with our families and friends and our associates."
Ron Garan, who currently lives on the ISS had this to say about the Internet on the station:
So this is something that is somewhat new is our capability to use the Internet. And how it works is we can be on a laptop here on the International Space Station and basically control remotely a PC or a computer down on the ground that is connected to the Internet. So it's - we're limited to when we have the correct communications coverage to be able to be on the Internet and there is some lag in it. So it does work slower than you're probably used to on the ground. But it's a very useful tool. And it really helps us to stay connected with what's going on, on the Earth.
So there you have it. Internet in space sucks. Next time your connection times out, don't explode with fury and look for something to punch because the guys up top have it way worse, and they're not even complaining.