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International Space Station

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Welcome to our free resource to practise for the IGCSE ESL listening test about the International Space Station. This is just one of many exercises to reinforce your learning so you feel confident when the IGCSE ESL exam day arrives.

International Space Station

 International Space Station

WatchListenAudio ScriptVocabulary

Did you know that there’s a research laboratory in space? In this video, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques describes its size.

You will hear an interview with an astronaut called Fred Lucatoni, who recently spent six months living on the International Space Station. Listen to the interview and look at the questions. For each question, choose the correct answer, A, B or C.

1. Fred compares the length of the space station to that of a

2. What does Fred miss most about being on the space station?

3. What aspect of life on board the space station did Fred sometimes find difficult?

4. What does Fred say about the food that they eat?

5. When Fred had to do an experiment using ants, he

6. How did Fred feel about the people working in the control centre?

7. While Fred was on the space station, what did he most look forward to doing back on Earth?

8. In Fred’s opinion, the most important quality for an astronaut is being able to


F: Welcome to today’s programme – the third in our series on living in space. I’m delighted to have with me in the studio Fred Lucatoni, who spent six months living on the International Space Station recently. Fred, can you tell us what it was like?
M: Sure. Well, the international space station is an amazing place. It’s actually pretty large – there’s more living space than you’d find in a six-bedroom house, it’s as long as a football pitch, and it has a volume equal to that of a Boeing 747 aeroplane. Does that give you an idea?
F: It does. And now that you’re back on Earth, what do you miss about the space station?
M: Well, of course looking down on Earth from up there is incredible – it’s so beautiful. And it’s great fun the way you move around, floating in mid-air. I’d never get bored of that! But you won’t believe me when I say that I’ve never slept better than I did up there – I wish it was the same on Earth!
F: Interesting! Was there anything that was hard to put up with?
M: Actually, the training beforehand is so thorough that nothing is really surprising. I knew we’d all be living in a small area, very close to each other all the time, and of course that everybody knows everything about you while you’re there. That wasn’t a problem. I suppose I occasionally got a bit tired of having to spend two hours working out every day – but that’s just something you’ve got to do.
F: To stop your muscles and bones from getting too weak?
M: That’s right. And you have to be careful about what you eat, too, to make sure you’re getting all the necessary vitamins and so on. We all choose our own food before going up to the space station, so each of us has a personal supply – there’s a surprisingly wide range of stuff that you can have up there! And it doesn’t take all that long to get a meal ready, which is good.
F: It’s quite busy on the space station, isn’t it?
M: Yes. One of the things we did quite a lot of is run experiments. I’ll never forget one I had to do with live ants – watching them trying to move around was pretty entertaining because like us, they can’t control their movements in space. I wasn’t sure exactly what the experiment was for – sometimes they are quite weird, to be honest, but you just do as instructed and hope it’s useful to whoever requested it.
F: Did you ever feel lonely when you were up there?
M: Lonely? Not at all. There were three of us, plus of course the huge team down on the ground.
F: Doesn’t it feel like they’re monitoring you all the time?
M: Well, they are! But you soon forget about that. In fact, it’s comforting to know that you can turn to them at any time. They keep an eye on every aspect of the expedition, and get feedback from us all the time – we have to send them all sorts of information on a daily basis, fill in forms on the computer, and so on.
F: Did six months feel like a long time to be away from home?
M: Not too long, no. But you start dreaming about being able to do certain things back on Earth, like taking your car for a drive – that was something my colleague was desperate to do! I certainly couldn’t wait to have a proper shower – there’s no running water up there. And I suppose I thought about being able to breathe in the lovely fresh air, to a certain extent, too.
F: Oh, yes, I’d miss that… Anyway, one last question. What do you think makes a good astronaut?
M: Oh, well, someone who isn’t likely to panic – but then you’re trained to cope with all sorts. I’d say, more than anything, you’ve got to work well in a team – after all, once you’re up there you can’t avoid each other very easily! But it’s also important to be able to communicate well – and of course to follow commands from others too.
F: Fred, it’s been really interesting talking to you. Thank you for your time.
M: Thank you.

Here are the keywords and phrases to learn:

  • colleague
  • comforting
  • desperate
  • expedition
  • follow commands
  • incredible
  • monitoring
  • muscle and bone
  • personal supply
  • run experiments
  • shipshape
  • space station
Here you will find exercise to practice for the reading and writing section of IGCSE ESL examination for either the core or extended papers.

Exercise 1: Read a text and answer a series of questions.

Keeping Bees in the City
Living for 200 years
Living Stone Plants
Walking to the North Pole

Exercise 2: Read a text and answer questions, testing more detailed comprehension.

Cheating in Exams
Different Shops
Different Writers
Pizza Companies
Summer Camps

Exercise 1 (Questions 1 -4) - Short answer exercises

Exercise 2 - (Question 5) Gap-filled exercises

Exercise 3 - Matching

Exercise 4 - Multiple Choice

We add activities and exercises regularly on various themes, so why not bookmark our site, so you can come back to practice anywhere or at any time of the day.

Explore the way we use technology and science in the modern world

The more words you encounter and understand, the broader your day-to-day vocabulary will become. So, our IGCSE ESL Word searches are an excellent way to help to reinforce spellings. Word puzzles require not just a good vocabulary and a knack for spelling, but the ability to think logically and strategically. In the case of puzzles like our IGCSE Crosswords, it’s crucial to spell linked words correctly to be able to complete the task.
Learning English requires not just a good vocabulary, but a strong foundation of all skills to communicate well. Here we provide activities for the IGCSE ESL for all the skills required to be successful in this examination.
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