Thanksgiving In Space – How Astronauts Aboard the ISS Dine

Thanksgiving at the International Space Station

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station plan on getting creative with their Thanksgiving meal in orbit.

To commemorate Thanksgiving this year, the astronauts on board the International Space Station shared a video of themselves discussing the holiday and what it means to them. But they couldn’t talk about Thanksgiving without at least mentioning food. As astronaut Andrew Morgan said in the video, “When we think of Thanksgiving, we think of friends, family and food.”

“We’ve talked a lot about our friends and family, but we’re also going to be enjoying a lot of really great food on board the International Space Station,” he added.

Morgan, along with fellow astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, talked about a variety of packages of “space food” that they’ll be munching on this holiday weekend. And, while their choices include classics like turkey and sweet potatoes, the astronauts plan to get a little bit creative, mixing and matching their options.

The pouches of premade food for their Thanksgiving feast will include “vegetables, of course, green beans and potatoes,” Morgan said. “There’s the winner, the turkey,” Koch added, joking that “I wanna know who’s gonna carve the turkey in a pouch.”

“Sweet potatoes were always a huge hit in my house,” Meir said, as pouches of unidentifiable food packages floated around them. Morgan then picked up another one of the pouches, which are only vaguely recognizable by color. “This one will require reconstituting. We’ll add a little bit of water, and it’ll become delicious macaroni and cheese,” he said.

Meir, in picking up a packet of cornbread dressing, got a creative idea for how crewmembers could make the food look a little bit more like what’s served during the holiday meal on Earth.

“This will be great, we can maybe stuff it inside the turkey, just to make it like a real stuffing,” she said.

Astronauts on the space station can enjoy cornbread stuffing, yams, mashed potatoes, and turkey, and more for Thanksgiving.

What’s on the Menu?

 

Photo Courtesy: collectSPACE.com

 

Like other foods, Thanksgiving dinner items are shipped to space in labeled foil or plastic packages. This photo of Expedition 42’s Thanksgiving dinner in 2014 shows a balanced meal of turkey, candied yams, cherry and blueberry cobblers, vegetables and other treats. Just add water and heat!

Stuffed with Stuffing

 

Photo Courtesy: NASA

 

Unlike most Americans celebrating Thanksgiving on Earth — who probably went through pains to prepare elaborate meals for this festive occasion — astronauts merely needed add water to these prepared packets.

Astro-Turkey!

 

Photo Courtesy: NASA

 

What’s a holiday without decorations? Even on the space station, astronauts get into the spirit with what limited decorations they can bring. Here, a Thanksgiving turkey decoration is pictured floating in the International Space Station in 2001.

The ‘Space Oven’

 

Photo Courtesy: Chris Hadfield/NASA/Twitter

 

To heat up the turkey and other dishes, the astronauts use this suitcase-sized food warmer. “Tuck a pouch under the strap, velcro shut, wait 10 minutes – hot food!” astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted in 2012.

A Crowded Table in Space

 

Photo Courtesy: NASA

 

Thanksgiving is often a time of togetherness, and so it in space! Astronauts gather around a central galley table, but they don’t need chairs.

Here, members of the STS-129 crew share a meal while on the space station. Magnets and Velcro (loop tape) hold the cans and utensils in place while the crewmembers dine in zero-g.

The Dinner Table

 

Photo Courtesy: NASA (via Twitter as @NASA_Astronauts)

 

A holiday in space wouldn’t be much of a holiday without some snapshots for the crew photo album. Take a look at some photos by astronauts of their Turkey day in space!

Here: Commander Barry Wilmore of Expedition 42 takes a self-portrait with Thanksgiving food packages containing smoked turkey, cranapple dessert, cornbread dressing, and tea with sugar. The photo was taken near the galley table in the Unity Node 1 and released by Wilmore on Instagram in 2014.

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

 

Photo Courtesy: NASA (via Twitter as @NASA_Astronauts)

 

Cmdr. Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA tweeted this photo of the foods he and his fellow Expedition 42 crewmembers ate on Thanksgiving in 2014.

Astronauts Chow Down

 

Photo Courtesy: NASA

 

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly (left) and Kjell Lindgren show off their Thanksgiving meal in 2015. On the menu: bags of smoked turkey, rehydratable corn, candied yams and potatoes au gratin.

A Balanced Meal

 

Photo Courtesy: NASA

 

The hands of NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, Expedition 38 flight engineer, hold a Thanksgiving meal in the Unity node of the International Space Station in 2013.

Cmdr. Kimbrough Lays Out the Menu

 

Photo Courtesy: NASA

 

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, Expedition 50 commander, shares his Thanksgiving dinner menu at the International Space Station in a NASA video in 2016. He and the rest of the Expedition 50 crew enjoyed a meal consisting of turkey, green beans, candied yams, mashed potatoes, cherry-and-blueberry cobbler and sweet tea.

Cornbread Stuffing

 

Photo Courtesy: NASA

 

Cmdr. Barry “Butch” Wilmore holds up a bag of freeze-dried cornbread stuffing. Astronauts just need to add water and heat it up to make this delicious Thanksgiving dish. You can even try this at home with NASA’s recipe for space cornbread stuffing.

Canned Cranberries

 

Photo Courtesy: NASA

 

NASA astronaut Dan Burbank catches a floating can of cranberries on the International Space Station just before Thanksgiving in 2011

Get Ready for Christmas!

 

Photo Courtesy: NASA

 

With Thanksgiving dinner done, astronauts in space are sure to look forward to their next major holiday: Christmas.

The International Space Station is fully stocked with decorations (complete with tree, stockings and Santa hats as worn by Italian astronaut Samantha Christoforetti here) and you can be sure NASA and other space agencies will pack some tasty treats for that holiday dinner, too!


Portions of this Article Originally Appeared on Space

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