The holidays may look a little different this year because of the pandemic, but they will still be there – even in space. The International Space Station is now hosting seven crew members, which will be the most for an orbiting laboratory in its entire 20-year existence.
The international crew now includes NASA astronauts Kate Rubins, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover Jr. and Shannon Walker; and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Sergey Ryzhikov. The entire team usually gathers for a celebratory dinner, with team members calling home to talk to friends, family and loved ones.
The astronauts began a tradition of celebrating the space holidays since the Apollo mission, when the Apollo 8 crew broadcast their message live on Christmas Eve in 1968, taking turns reading from the Book of Genesis Bible.
How exactly the holidays are celebrated depends on each individual crew and their country’s traditions, but veterans tend to share suggestions and ideas with newcomers before they take off, astronaut Andrew Morgan told CNN. In particular, it is common for astronauts in orbit to listen to Christmas music throughout the station and watch classic holiday movies to create a festive atmosphere.
Jewish woman Dessica once celebrated Hanukkah on the space station by posting pictures of her festive socks on Twitter, but she also joined in celebrating Christmas with her colleagues on the ISS.