Santa has made an unprecedented stop at the International Space Station at the start of his global gift-giving adventure.
Presumably docking via the space station’s recently delivered Bishop Airlock (it’s quite large and therefore able to accommodate Santa’s paunch), Santa popped into the orbiting outpost to drop off some presents for the current seven-member crew.
A video (below) posted on NASA’s official Twitter account on Christmas Eve shows Santa and his reindeer approaching the station 250 miles above Earth.
“NORAD [North American Aerospace Defense Command] satellites have spotted Santa on a true path straight to the ISS and the astronauts who are living and working on board,” the video’s narrator says.
— NASA (@NASA) December 24, 2020
After visiting the station, Santa set off to embark on the main task of squeezing down chimneys and eating lots of cookies (oh, and delivering presents, too). You can follow his progress throughout the evening by using a Santa tracker provided by Google or NORAD.
Santa’s visit to the ISS came shortly after Expedition 64 crew members Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, Kate Rubins, and Soichi Noguchi offered a few words on what it’s like to spend the holiday season in space.
NASA and its international partners have recently been celebrating 20 years of continuous human habitation aboard the station. Up to now, more than 240 individuals from 18 countries have visited the space-based laboratory, and NASA celebrated its 300th spacewalk involving American astronauts in July. These videos, made by different astronauts over the years, offer fascinating insight into how crew members work, rest, and play aboard the station.
The 357-foot-long space-based laboratory orbits Earth every 90 minutes, traveling along at a speedy 5 miles per second. When it passes overhead, the sun’s reflection on the station’s solar panels makes it highly visible from Earth. Interested in seeing it? Digital Trends has an article telling you how to spot the International Space Station from your backyard, no telescope required!
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