Skip to main content

NASA astronauts enjoy Thanksgiving holiday at 17,000 mph

As Americans around the world celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday, there were four citizens enjoying the day in a slightly different way to everyone else. Because they’re in space.

Living and working aboard the International Space Station (ISS) means NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Thomas Marshburn spent the holiday in microgravity conditions, eating rehydrated food from containers and drinking recycled water while orbiting Earth at 17,000 mph.

NASA on Thursday posted a video (below) of the four American astronauts sharing their thoughts about what Thanksgiving means to them, and how they were spending the day aboard the orbiting outpost.

Barron said they were all going to enjoy an “awesome” meal together with French astronaut Matthias Maurer and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.

“Luckily it doesn’t take us long to cook food in space because most of it is just reheating,” Barron said.

Items on the astronauts’ menu included “roasted turkey,” which Chari insisted would “taste delicious when we add some water.”

#HappyThanksgiving! Five Exp 66 astronauts talk about spending the holiday in space and the food they will share on the station.

— International Space Station (@Space_Station) November 25, 2021

NASA also posted a video looking at the history of Thanksgiving in space. It reveals that the first off-Earth Thanksgiving took place aboard Skylab 3 in 1973 with NASA astronauts Gerald Carr, William Pogue, and Edward Gibson able to enjoy a stunning view of Earth during the special day.

The next space-based Thanksgiving took place aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1985. Since then, with the construction of the ISS at the turn of the century, the holiday has been celebrated in space every year since 2000.

Happy Thanksgiving from NASA!

And in case you’re wondering when exactly Thanksgiving happens on the space station, here’s the answer: The satellite uses the Universal Time Clock (UTC), equivalent to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in London, for keeping time, so Thanksgiving officially started at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET) on Wednesday, November 24 (or midnight UTC/GMT), ending 24 hours later when most Americans back on terra firma were dropping onto the couch with a belly full of food.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Astronaut photographs his ‘office’ during his ride to work
A photo taken from a SpaceX Crew Dragon showing Earth, the moon, and the space station.

As rides to work go, traveling aboard a spaceship to a satellite orbiting 250 miles above Earth must be hard to beat.

European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen did just that on Saturday when he flew with three others on a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule from the Kennedy Space Station in Florida to the International Space Station (ISS) in l0w-Earth orbit.

Read more
Watch the highlights of SpaceX’s Crew-7 arrival at the ISS
nasa announces breakthrough in search for iss air leak space station

Following a perfect launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida early on Saturday, SpaceX’s four Crew-7 astronauts arrived safely at the International Space Station (ISS) the following day.

NASA live-streamed the Crew Dragon spacecraft approaching the ISS before docking, and also shared footage of the crew’s arrival aboard the station. The spacecraft’s hatch was opened at 10:58 a.m. ET (7:58 a.m. PT) on Sunday, shortly after the ISS crew opened the hatch between the space station and the pressurized mating adapter, NASA reported.

Read more
SpaceX calls off Friday’s Crew-7 launch to the space station
Crew-7's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft on the launchpad.

Crew-7's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft on the launchpad. SpaceX

UPDATE: About four hours prior to the targeted launch time, SpaceX posted a message saying it was calling off Friday morning's launch attempt and would now target early Saturday morning instead.

Read more