Millions of Americans will vote by mail or in person for the next President of the United States, but at least one vote will be cast over 100 kilometers above the Earth.
NASA astronaut flight engineer Kate Rubins plans to vote from the International Space Station, the National Aerospace Agency officially confirms. The new crew will leave for the International Space Station in October, and will include Rubins along with two Russian cosmonauts.
She will spend six months in orbit as part of the 63/64 Expedition crew. Rubins already voted from space in 2016 – on that flight she became the first person to sequence DNA in space. Now her stay in space is subject to new choices.
Astronauts registered to vote in Texas gained the right to vote from space in 1997 when state lawmakers ruled they could vote electronically from outside, according to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Johnson Space Center is located in Houston, so most astronauts are based in the city and are registered to vote in Harris County, Texas.
The space voting process works like this: The Harris County office uploads a secure electronic ballot to the Johnson Space Center Mission Control Center. Astronauts, using certain credentials, access their ballot and vote, and the results are then delivered back to the county office via email.