WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Astronauts pause to celebrate Thanksgiving together

Posted November 25, 2015

Astronaut Scott Kelly samples candied yams from a pouch as Kjell Lindgren looks on with smoked turkey (Credit: NASA/JSC)

A normal day aboard the International Space Station (ISS) begins at 6:00 a.m. UTC. Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) was selected to set clocks aboard the ISS to because it lies between the two ground control centers in Houston, Texas and Moscow, Russia.

The crew starts with inspection of safety systems, followed by breakfast, a daily planning conference with ground controllers in Houston and Moscow and then several hours of work (tending to science experiments, station maintenance, medical tasks, etc.).

Following lunch, there is exercise, more work time and the evening conference call. There is about two hours beginning at 7:30 p.m. for dinner, email, enjoying a movie or book until they turn in for the night at 9:30 p.m.

Like many Americans, astronauts aboard the International Space Station have Thursday off, with only essential safety and medical tasks required that day.

Though Russian and American crews normally alternate their days off, all six aboard station will gather for a Thanksgiving meal together. They will also have some extra time to relax and visit with family via IP phone or video conference.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren will share what has become a traditional Thanksgiving meal with Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko, Sergey Volkov and Oleg Kononenko and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui.

Also like many Americans, the menu for this year is similar to others. They'll enjoy the following:

  • Irradiated smoked turkey
  • Intermediate moisture packed mashed potatoes and potatoes au gratin
  • Rehydratable corn
  • Freeze dried cornbread dressing
  • Thermostabilized (like canning but in a foil pouch) candied yams
  • Cherry-blueberry cobbler
  • Sweet tea (from a Capri-Sun like foil pouch)

You can add a little space-fare to your table in this cornbread dressing recipe published by NASA. Beware, our tastebuds are less effective in space so flavor is intensified in this recipe.

Tony Rice is a volunteer in the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador program and software engineer at Cisco Systems. You can follow him on twitter @rtphokie.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all