International Crew to Ring in Christmas 50 Years After First Moon Trip

Expedition 58 Crew Portrait
The official Expedition crew portrait with (from left) NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and astronaut David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency.

Three people from the U.S., Canada and Russia are orbiting Earth today getting ready to observe Christmas and experience New Year’s Eve from space aboard the International Space Station. Back on Earth, another three station crew members have returned to their home bases just 24 hours after completing a 197-day mission aboard the orbital lab.

The first time three humans spent Christmas in space was 50 years ago in 1968 during Apollo 8 and was also the first time a crew orbited the Moon. This Christmas astronauts Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency with cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos will be soaring about 250 miles above the Earth’s surface in a much larger spacecraft. The Expedition 58 trio will share a traditional meal aboard the orbital lab, share gifts and call down to family during their off-duty day.

Kononenko is beginning his fourth mission on the station and will spend his second Christmas in space. McClain and Saint-Jacques are getting used to life in space for the first time and will return to Earth in June with Kononenko.

NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor returned to Houston late Thursday just one day after landing in Kazakhstan wrapping up her six-and-a-half month stay aboard the orbital lab. She parachuted to Earth inside the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft with her Expedition 57 crewmates Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos.

19 thoughts on “International Crew to Ring in Christmas 50 Years After First Moon Trip”


  2. is it possible to add more sections to the space station?
    It would be nice to have 12 to 20 people at the space station.It seems awful large for 3 to 6 people.

  3. It felt a nice touch to start Christmas Eve watching ISS like unique star go right over our house!
    Thanking God and all crews for ISS safety.

  4. Wish you 3 an incredible Merry Christmas! I might be waving from my hometown, hope you folks can see it. Have an awesome lunch.

  5. Merry Christmas and safe travels. I am listening for you on 145.8000 Mhz ham radio. I would like to catch you later today.

    Bob KD2QAK

  6. I watched the ISS fly over Canberra, Australia last night & wondered who was up there. Nice to know your names & nationalities. Shall throw a prawn on the barbie for you. Christmas greetings from earth.

  7. Can’t help but thinking back to that Christmas Eve, 1968 [it was actually early Christmas morning for us in London, England], watching a small, 6 in., Sony b/w TV perched on the kitchen freezer as those grainy images of Luna and the words of Genesis came though loud and clear from Apollo 8. Most Americans then– and now- have no idea the soft power of good and greatness America was able to project to the world with Apollo in that era. Saw it first hand in Europe as that wretched, miserable year came to a close.

    The past fifty years was still an unknown future. Half-a-century later, five decades older in San Diego, I watched our ISS pass peacefully overhead down the California coast at dusk… thought back to those 20 minutes fifty Christmases ago- and smiled. I’m so proud of you all- the astronauts, cosmonauts, controllers, technicians and engineers. Space is hard; and you continue to make it look so easy. Happy holidays to you all in this, the 50th year celebrating Apollo.

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