Three humans will spend Thanksgiving orbiting about 260 miles above Earth. Another three individuals are spending the holiday in Kazakhstan preparing to launch to the International Space Station on Dec. 3.
The Expedition 57 trio from the U.S., Russia and Germany will share a traditional Thanksgiving meal together with fresh ingredients delivered over the weekend on a pair of new cargo ships. Commander Alexander Gerst from ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor will take the day off in space. Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev will work a normal day of Russian science and maintenance then join his crewmates for the holiday feast.
Gerst called down to European mission controllers today for a weekly tag up then answered a questionnaire about his experiences living in space. Afterward, he continued unpacking inventory from the new Cygnus cargo craft.
Auñón-Chancellor spent most of her day in Japan’s Kibo lab module working on life support gear. Toward the end of the day, she stowed research samples in a science freezer then debriefed ground controllers with Gerst about Cygnus cargo operations.
Prokopyev focused his attention on the Russian side of the orbital lab working on life support gear and unloading the new Progress 71 cargo craft.
Back on Earth, three Expedition 58 crew members from the U.S., Russia and Canada are in final training ahead of their six-and-a-half month mission on the orbital lab. Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko will lead the six-hour flight aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft flanked by NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques.
This will be Kononenko’s fourth mission to the space station and his second as station commander. McClain and Saint-Jacques are both beginning their first missions to space.