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CELESTIAL CELEBRATIONS: DISCOVER HOW ASTRONAUTS SPEND THE HOLIDAYS IN SPACE

Welcome back, future astronauts! Here at Flight Adventure Park, we aim to inspire exploration and adventure through our space themed attractions. We have uncovered so many amazing things that astronauts are capable of through their space expeditions – but have you ever wondered how astronauts celebrate the holiday season while floating high above Earth? As we officially enter the most wonderful time of the year, we'll explore how astronauts make the holiday season special, no matter how far they travel into the atmosphere. So, fasten your seatbelts, and let's take off on this stellar adventure!


SPREADING HOLIDAY CHEER

Astronauts may be far from home, but they're never alone during the holidays. They can celebrate with their fellow crew members, forming close-knit relationships. They exchange small, meaningful gifts, share traditions, and spend time together to make the season bright. And don't forget that they can also video call their loved ones on Earth to share the joy and warmth of the season!


From 2019, the Christmas message from the Expedition 61 crew members.


DECKING THE SPACE HALL

The first crew to spend Christmas in space were the Apollo 8 astronauts, who circled the moon while celebrating the holiday in 1968. As they left lunar orbit, astronaut James A. Lovell radioed back to Earth, where it was already Christmas Day, “Please be informed there is a Santa Claus!”


The first crew to spend Thanksgiving through New Year’s in orbit was the Skylab space station with their record 84-day mission. The crew built a Christmas tree from leftover food containers, colored decals, and a cardboard cutout comet at the top. The crew also enjoyed a Christmas dinner, called their loved ones, and even opened presents!


THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS BY STARLINK

Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish holiday, has also been celebrated by astronauts in space. NASA astronaut Jeffrey A. Hoffman was the first to celebrate in space, as a part of the STS-61 Hubble Space Telescope repair mission in 1993.


STS-61 mission specialist Jeffrey A. Hoffman with a dreidel during Hanukkah in December 1993.


That year, Hanukkah began on the evening of December 9th, and astronaut Hoffman celebrated by traveling with a small unlit menorah and by spinning a floating dreidel. Hoffman described in a broadcast how he attempted to reinterpret the rules of the game without gravity.


FEASTING ON SPACE CUISINE

Food is an essential part of any holiday celebration, and travelling through space is no exception! While they may not be able enjoy a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, they still get to savor special space food. These meals are specifically prepared and packaged for space, ensuring they remain fresh and safe to eat. Some holiday favorites include dehydrated mashed potatoes, turkey, hot apple cider, and canned cranberry sauce. They even pack hot cocoa!


FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW

The International Space Station (ISS) is an amazing place to ring in the New Year! The ISS orbits around Earth 16 times per day, or every hour and a half. Meaning that technically, astronauts could count down the New Year in multiple different time zones! The astronauts set their clocks to Greenwich Mean Time, or GMT, by convention, meaning they officially ring in the new year with people in the cities of London, England and Reykjavik, Iceland. The astronauts toast with juice and may even look to space outside in hopes of seeing firework displays on Earth.


CELEBRATING THE UNIVERSAL SPIRIT

While astronauts come from different countries and cultures, they all share the common goal of space exploration. The holiday season in space is a time for unity and reflection. It's a reminder that even in the vastness of space, we are all connected as Earth's cosmic explorers.


So, there you have it, fellow space adventurers! Astronauts in space may be far from home, but they still find creative ways to celebrate the holiday season. With their space-themed decorations, specially prepared meals, camaraderie with their crewmates, and a focus on the universal spirit of unity, they bring a touch of holiday magic to the cosmos.


Remember, no matter where you are, the holiday season is a time for spreading joy, kindness, and togetherness. Who knows, maybe one day you'll find yourself in space, celebrating the holidays just like the astronauts before you. Until then, keep your eyes on the stars and your dreams set to infinity and beyond!


Whatever you celebrate, we wish you glad tidings from Flight Adventure Park. So, keep reaching for the stars, and happy holidays to you all!




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