Astronauts aboard the International Space Station 250 miles or 400 kilometers above Earth’s surface will not be missing-in-action where this year’s Thanksgiving celebration is concerned. Currently living in their orbiting lab far above off in outer space, they will be joining millions of Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving with a feast and local dishes – and what’s more, they are taking a day off too in the spirit of the holiday.
Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore, flight engineer Terry Virts, and Italian-born flight engineer Samantha Cristoforetti will take their own feast at mealtime by guzzling down on some Turkey Day treats – but then, this will be in zero-g form. Although the crew members are free to enjoy some personal favorites, the menu for the Thanksgiving appears to be smoked turkey, candied yams, green beans and mushrooms, cornbread stuffing, and cherry-blueberry cobbler among others.
The astronauts aboard the orbiting laboratory usually have their food freeze-dried to give it a longer shelf life, and it could also be thermostabilized – packed in pouches in a way that is akin to canning – and this also makes the food last much longer without the need for refrigeration. The only way to heat up food without the luxury of ovens or microwaves aboard the ISS is by heating in hot water.
And to show his freedom for some personal favorites, Wilmore released a Thanksgiving video to greet the whole world and to also add his message from aboard ISS. He says “I’m from Tennessee, so I grew up drinking sweet tea — so I’ve got a little sweet tea as well. So, we’re going to have all of that up here and try to share in the spirit of the season.”
Although they will not be having any day off for the celebrations, the Americans will be sharing their meals with their newly Russian shipmates, flight engineers Alexander Samokutyaev, Anton Shkaplerov and Elena Serova, who got to the station late Sunday.