When every docking port on a space station is full, how will Santa come?
The Expedition 68 crew expects a merry troll to come through one of the International Space Station’s airlocks and will hide their socks there, four astronauts shared a video from space.
“Unfortunately this year, all of the docking ports were taken, so we expect Santa will likely come through the airlock,” NASA astronaut Josh Casada said in a YouTube video. (Opens in a new tab).
He does not specify which airlock Santa will use, but is presumably referring to the Quest airlock in the American segment. Generally, Santa prefers entering through the peak of the Harmony module or the near-space facing port there, Cassada noted, but there’s a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft in that slot now.
Related: The International Space Station at 20: a photo tour
While waiting for Santa, the crew has their usual holiday feast planned in space. NASA astronaut Nicole Mann tossed prepackaged meals for her crewmates: spicy green beans for Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, duck beans for Frank Rubio, and broccoli for Casada. The bread man and cranberry sauce were also offered.
“The one thing I absolutely love about the holidays that I will miss here is getting together with friends and family in the kitchen, and cooking a huge feast,” said Mann. “It’s a little messy. It’s loud. Everyone’s laughing and having fun, and you have a great cooking scent.”
On New Year’s Day, Wakata said, he plans to take a photo of the first sunrise of 2023. Pointing to a circular window behind him in Japan’s Kibo unit, he said it would be “from this window here.”
The holiday season comes after a very busy few days on the space station. Casada and Rubio installed a new solar array for the International Space Station (iROSA) to augment the station’s power supply, during a seven-hour spacewalk yesterday (Dec. 22). That spacewalk was postponed from Wednesday (December 21) due to the deflection of Russian orbital debris near the station.
Meanwhile, the Russian side of the space station is grappling with a Soyuz that dramatically lost its coolant last week. Roscosmos and NASA continue to evaluate options, which could mean bringing in a new, empty Soyuz in a few weeks to serve as a lifeboat for the three astronauts who will need a ride home.
Elizabeth Howell is co-author of “Why am I taller (Opens in a new tab)? (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book on space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @employee (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @employee (Opens in a new tab) or Facebook (Opens in a new tab).
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