This Is What Thanksgiving in Space Looks Like


Astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) spent Thanksgiving much like we do on Earth — by eating a turkey dinner, watching some football, and sharing traditions. But first, they worked up a hearty appetite putting in a day’s worth of science before chowing down.

Unlike the majority of Americans who have Thanksgiving Day off from work, the crew on the ISS will be conducting a full day of research investigations before sitting down and sharing a meal together. Currently, there are six crew members on board the orbital outpost, two of which are American: Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson.

Even though Kimbrough and Whitson’s colleagues don’t celebrate the holiday, everyone is welcome at the table. In a pre-Thanksgiving video, Kimbrough said, “It’s going to be a little bit different for us up here in space, but I’m going to try to make it as much like home as we can.”

The six expedition 50 crew members celebrate Thanksgiving in space. 


The crew dined on rehydrated turkey, which they heated up and Kimbrough says it tastes like the real thing. They also shared a plethora of side dishes with their Russian and French colleagues including Thanksgiving staples like mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, candied yams and of course green beans. For dessert, they had cherry-blueberry cobbler.

Kimbrough is from Atlanta, and as any proper southern person knows, a meal isn’t complete without some sweet tea to wash it all down.

Part of the camaraderie on the ISS is that the crew members are able to learn about many different cultures and traditions. As such, Kimbrough and Whitson were able to share what Thanksgiving means to them.

“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.”

In order to complete the American Thanksgiving day experience, the crew was able to kick their heels up and watch a bit of football afterward.

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