How Do Astronauts Celebrate Thanksgiving On The Space Station?

The Expedition 28 crew on the International Space Station celebrates after a fresh food delivery in 2011. Credit: NASA

As Americans get ready for turkey feasts and other Thanksgiving goodies today, let’s take a few moments to think about the crew of six people on board the International Space Station. Two Americans, a European and three Russians are working there now and will be taking most of today (Nov. 26) off for the holiday.

What the heck will they eat? The NASA interview above provides some clues, including a surprise about leftovers. More details below the jump.

NASA, which is responsible for supplying the three astronauts using the American segment of the space station, generally allocates four pounds of food per crew member per day (including packaging), according to Vickie Kloeris, food system manager for the station. Astronauts can also bring a little bit of bonus food with them for special treats. The food isn’t sent up as meal plans, but as different kinds (meats, vegetables, and the like) that the astronauts can assemble at will.

“We don’t have a set-aside meal for Thanksgiving. but they do have all these products available to choose from,” Kloeris said in the interview. “Crew members do know that they’re going to be on orbit during the holidays, [so] they often put special items in their bonus containers with the holidays in mind.”

Kloreis said she couldn’t reveal what Expedition 42 has in its grab boxes, but in the past astronauts have brought up items such as cranberry sauce or icing/frosting to put on cookies in orbit.

Below you can see a recent tweet from former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield concerning a typical meal for astronauts, which he put up with a Thanksgiving reference. Whatever the crew is having up there, we wish them a Happy Thanksgiving!


Earth Shines In Space Pictures In Glory You’ve Rarely Seen Before

A timelapse photo of Earth created from a video made by the Expedition 28 and 29 crews on the International Space Station. Credit: zqyogl

We truly live on a beautiful planet, and sometimes it just takes a bit of an unusual picture to remind us of that fact. An intrepid amateur took time lapse pictures from the Expedition 28 and 29 crews (filmed in 2011) and combined the shots to create some incredible composite pictures of our planet.

The pictures below are the result of blending 9 different timelapse sequences in two different ways,” wrote a user dubbed zqyogl on Imgur. “The first in each set of two was made by finding the brightest colour for each pixel, and the second by averaging every frame of the timelapse.”

Anyone else out there reminded of Don Pettit’s stunning pictures from space a few years ago? To check out the entire gallery, visit this website to download everything in high-resolution glory. The source video is below the jump.

Earth from Michael König on Vimeo.

h/t Reddit

Dramatic Videos of Station Undocking, Gorgeous Earth Descent and Soyuz Touchdown by Russian American Trio

Soyuz Lands with the Moon as backdrop. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Video Caption: Soyuz Trio Lands in Kazakhstan – The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Ron Garan and his fellow Expedition 28 flight engineers returned safely to Earth on Sept. 16 with a landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan. Garan and cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko, and Alexander Samokutyaev had been on the International Space Station since April 6. Their journey home was delayed just over a week by the failure of the Progress 44 cargo craft to reach the station. Remaining on the orbiting laboratory is NASA’s Mike Fossum and his two Expedition 28/29 colleagues, Russian Sergei Volkov, and Satoshi Furukawa of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency

Check out this collection of dramatic videos of the departure, descent and safe touchdown of the trio of Russian and American space flyers aboard the Soyuz TMA 21 spacecraft in the remote steppes of Kazakhstan on Sept. 16, 2011.

The first video above is a compilation of all the key events from the Soyuz spacecraft undocking from the International Space Station (ISS) to landing and gives the complete picture. Be sure to watch the Soyuz flying away like a bird with the gorgeous Earth in the background. Observe the crew being extracted like fish from the capsule.

The rest of the videos are shorter and break down the story to focus on the key individual events of the crews remaining final hours aboard the station and in space.

This video records the “Change of Command” as Mike Fossum takes over the helm of the ISS

Video Caption: NASA’s Fossum Given ISS Command – In a ceremony conducted 230 miles above the Earth on Sept. 14, the “helm” of the International Space Station was handed over by Expedition 28 Commander Andrey Borisenko to NASA astronaut, Mike Fossum, who takes command of the orbiting laboratory on Expedition 29.

Hatch Closure and Bidding Farewell

Video Caption: Hatch Closes as Soyuz Crew Bids Farewell – The Expedition 28 crew of Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev, NASA Flight Engineer Ron Garan and off-going station Commander Andrey Borisenko said their goodbyes to the remaining residents of the International Space Station before closing the hatch on their vehicle and preparing to undock for their return home to Earth on Sept. 16

This video highlights the ISS undocking sequence

Video Caption: Soyuz Undocks from ISS – The Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft that’ll carry Commander Alexander Samokutyaev, NASA Flight Engineer Ron Garan and off-going station Commander Andrey Borisenko back to Earth undocks from the International Space Station and begins its return journey home.


Read Ken’s Soyuz landing story for further details:
Expedition 28 Soyuz Crew Lands Safely in Kazakhstan

Awesome Aurora Photographed by Shuttle/ISS Crews

A panoramic view of Earth taken from the ISS, with shuttle Atlantis docked to the station. Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights can be seen on Earth's horizon and a number of stars also are visible. Credit: NASA


The STS-135 crew of space shuttle Atlantis and the Expedition 28 crew of the International Space Station were treated with great views of the Aurora Australis. Here’s one shot the crews photographed, showing a panoramic view of the station/shuttle complex along with several different astronomical beauties! The aurora shows up brightly, but what else is in the image? Looking closely –and southern hemisphere observers might recognize some objects better — but do you see the globular cluster Omega Centauri, the Coalsack Nebula and the Southern Cross? Anyone see anything else?

See below for another great aurora shot from the ISS, where the green glow shows up even better:

The Southern Lights or Aurora Australis as seen from the space station and space shuttle. Credit: NASA

These images were taken on Thursday during one of the “night” passes for the station/shuttle. The astronauts mentioned the aurora during media interviews on Friday. “We saw an incredible Southern Lights aurora,” said STS-135 pilot Doug Hurley. “It was the best one I’ve seen in my two spaceflights. It was just unbelievable, the view out the cupola.”

See larger views on NASA’s mission gallery page.

Soyuz Launches With New “International” Space Station Crew

In an epitome of internationalism, an international crew of three new ISS crew members — NASA astronaut Mike Fossum, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa — launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft at 4:12 p.m. EDT (2:12 a.m. Wednesday, Baikonur time) beginning their two-day journey to the space station. They are expected to dock at the ISS 4:22 p.m. Thursday, June 9.
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