Skip to main content

This is what mealtime for 11 astronauts looks like on the space station

Eleven astronauts from the U.S., Russia, Japan, and France gather for dinner on the International Space Station on Sunday, April 25. NASA

It’s pretty crowded on the International Space Station (ISS) just now, with a total of 11 astronauts currently enjoying the comforts of the orbiting outpost some 250 miles above Earth.

NASA on Sunday posted a group photo (top) of everyone gathered together for dinner. You can various packs of space food secured to the table (as well as several items floating above it!), though recent experiments growing fresh produce in microgravity conditions means the space-based diners may have been able to enjoy some leafy greens, too.

The ISS crew increased to 11 on Saturday, April 24, with the arrival of NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, as part of SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission. They joined NASA’s Mark Vande Hei, and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy, Pyotr Dubrov, who arrived earlier this month, and also NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and JAXA’s Soichi Noguchi, who have been on board since November 2020 and are returning to Earth this week. Find out how you can watch their journey home live online.

It may look rather cramped in the dining area, but the space station actually has many other sections where the astronauts can go to work, rest, and play. NASA describes the inhabitable satellite as “larger than a six-bedroom house, [with] six sleeping quarters, two bathrooms, a gym, and a 360-degree view bay window.”

While it’s certainly rare for so many people to be on the station at once, it’s not the busiest that it’s been in its 21-year history, with 13 astronauts spending time together on the ISS back in 2009.

If you’re interested in learning more about daily life on the space station, check out these insightful videos posted by visiting astronauts from over the years that explain everything from how to wash your hair in microgravity conditions to how to use a space toilet.

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)…
How to watch SpaceX’s spacecraft take a very short trip on Saturday
A SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft docked at the ISS.

NASA is making final preparations to move the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft to a different port at the International Space Station (ISS).

NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV

Read more
NASA confirms ISS will host cosmonauts through 2028
The International Space Station’s solar arrays provide power for the orbiting laboratory. NASA will install a total of six new roll out solar arrays in front of the existing arrays at 1A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 4A, and 4B to augment the power. During the Aug. 24 spacewalk, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and astronaut Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will install the modification kit on the 4A power channel, where the next new roll out solar array will be installed in 2022.

The International Space Station (ISS) looked for a while like it was about to become a little less international when the Russian space agency chief suggested last year that his country would stop sending cosmonauts to the orbital outpost “after 2024.”

Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov made the statement in July during a period of increasing tension between the U.S. and Russia following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine five months earlier.

Read more
How to watch Friday’s historic spacewalk at the ISS
30 stunning spacewalk images to celebrate nasas 300th outing  26

NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV

NASA astronaut Steve Bowen and his United Arab Emirates counterpart Sultan Alneyadi are making final preparations for a spacewalk at the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, April 28.

Read more