Astronaut email's Explainer column details how orbiting astronauts check their email. Turns out they use Microsoft Outlook, like many of us Earth-bound folks do. The difference is their Internet connection is a relay satellite on the Ku band, which operates on the radio frequency spectrum between 15,250 MHz and 17,250 MHz. Astronauts "pick up and drop off e-mail two or three times a day, for about half an hour," according to Slate writer Michelle Tsai. "They're each allowed to transfer up to 30 megabytes' worth of data in a session."

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