Six astronauts celebrate Christmas in space.
They may not be home to celebrate the holidays but their Christmas celebration is certainly out of this world. Six space travelers living in orbit are getting into the holiday spirit on the International Space Station.
The space station’s six-man Expedition 38 crew includes two Americans, three Russians, and one Japanese astronaut. This year, Christmas falls between two spacewalks – a Christmas Eve spacewalk to fix the outpost’s cooling system and a Dec. 27 excursion by Russian cosmonauts – so it is likely a welcome rest in an otherwise busy week per Space.com.
“Hey folks, MERRY CHRISTMAS!” NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio wrote on his Twitter post Sunday Dec. 22, adding he would write more later after finishing the station’s “home improvement project” to replace a cooling system pump.
The crew replaced an ammonia coolant pump on the space station to repair an ailing cooling pump that malfunctioned on Dec. 11. The Dec. 24 Christmas Eve spacewalk was the second one made in an effort to repair the problem.
The new pump module arrived just in time for Christmas and will allow them to restore full power to the outpost.
“Houston from the airlock, we’d just like to say thanks to all the great folks doing all this hard work to get this space station back up and running,” Mastracchio radioed at the end of the spacewalk, which finished at 2:23 p.m. EST, a long seven hours and 30 minutes after it first began.
“No, thank you guys,” astronaut Capcom Doug Wheelock replied from NASA’s Mission Control in Houston, TX. “It is the best Christmas ever. Thanks, guys.”
The astronauts even had some snow in space. One of the lines they were working on released some frozen ammonia flakes, or “snow.” As the line was vented the astronauts confirmed that it had “stopped snowing” and proceeded with connecting it and the remaining lines to the pump module.
Looks like they were able to experience a white Christmas even in space!