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NASA astronauts send a Fourth of July message from space

NASA astronauts on the ISS send a Fourth of July message.
NASA astronauts on the International Space Station sent a Fourth of July video message. NASA

Plenty of people who are away from home or traveling far from their loved ones will be sending messages today — but here’s one message that comes from a very distant outpost. The NASA astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS), zipping around the Earth in low-Earth orbit approximately 250 miles above the planet’s surface have sent a Fourth of July message to those down on the ground:

NASA Astronauts Send Fourth of July Wishes From the International Space Station

Currently on the space station are nine crew members: six NASA astronauts and three Russian cosmonauts. The six NASA astronauts — Mike Barratt, Matt Dominick, Tracy C. Dyson, Jeanette Epps, Butch Wilmore, and Suni Williams — came together to send this message, which was recorded on June 28.

“The Fourth of July always reminds me of the freedoms that we continue to fight for every day all over the world,” Epps said. “And it also reminds me of being with my family and friends,and celebrating those freedoms that we still recognize and celebrate every day.”

“For me, the Fourth of July is just a reminder of the fortitude that it took for our forefathers and their families to not only have the will to fight for our freedom, but also the courage to do so,” Dyson said.

Over the years, it has become a tradition for ISS astronauts to celebrate holidays like Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, or Christmas with video messages and playful outfits and events. Previous years have seen astronauts don red, white, and blue outfits or stars and stripes items. Crafty NASA astronaut Karen L. Nyberg even iced an American flag cookie in space in 2013.

For some of the astronauts currently on the ISS, like Barratt and Dyson, this is their second July 4th spent on the station. It is also the largest number of Americans who are celebrating the day on the ISS since 2006. The ISS crew numbers typically fluctuate between 3 and 12 people, depending on which spacecraft are coming and going from the station, and often include astronauts from Europe and Japan, as well as the U.S. and Russia.

The large crew at the moment is partly due to the presence of Wilmore and Williams, who arrived at the station on the first crewed test flight of the Boeing Starliner. They were due to depart last month, but issues with helium leaks on the spacecraft mean they will be staying in space a while longer while further investigation is performed.

Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
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