Features and Stories

In-Orbit Astronauts to Enjoy Thanksgiving in Space

Shane Kimbrough holding up packets of the food he will prepare tonight for Thanksgiving. Photo Credit: NASA.
In-Orbit Astronauts to Enjoy Thanksgiving in Space
Denise Recalde

International Space Station commander Shane Kimbrough will be hosting and celebrating the American holiday tradition of Thanksgiving along with his U.S., Russian and French colleagues in space on Thursday.

To take place after a normal workday in orbit, the American and his peers plan to feast on a dinner of freeze dried green beans, mashed potatoes, turkey and other side dishes.

“Of course Thanksgiving, in my world, is not complete without some football,” Kimbrough said in a video update from orbit Monday. “So we’re going to have mission control send up some live football games for us to watch to complete the experience of Thanksgiving.

“I hope you all have something very special to be thankful for. We do. We’re very safe up here. We’re going to have a great time enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with our colleagues.”

On Oct. 19, Kimbrough, flight engineer Andrey Borisenko and Soyuz MS-02 commander Sergey Ryzhikov initiated a two-day launch flight to the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, European Space Agency flight engineer Thomas Pesquet and Soyuz MS-03 commander Oleg Novitskiy joined them this past Saturday.

During the video update beamed back to Earth that took place in the Destiny laboratory module, Kimbrough held up packets of his Thanksgiving Day food and explained how the meal will be prepared and put together.

“It’s going to be a little different for us up here in space, but I’m going to try to make it as much like home as we can,” he said.

“It is a work day for us, so we’re not going to get the day off like most folks in the United States. We’re going to work all day, and then we’re going to have a big dinner full of most of the things you’re going to have at your table.”

The freeze-dried turkey comes in a packet, he said, adding: “we’re going to heat this up and it’s going to taste really good, just like you’re having at home. We got cherry blueberry cobbler for dessert, so that’s going to be awesome. Let’s see, one of our side dishes is candied yams. That’s something else we’ll heat up, obviously.”

Crew members will have to add water to the dehydrated food items before heating.

“We’re obviously going to be talking about what Thanksgiving means to us, what we’re thankful for and sharing the tradition with our French and Russian colleagues,” said Kimbrough. “So we’re going to have a great time.”

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