Christmas tree without champagne: how astronauts celebrate the New Year in orbit

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New Year’s holidays are a common thing on the ISS. One can even say the traditional: Georgy Grechko and Yuri Romanenko met the New Year in orbit for the first time back in 1978, while working at the Salyut-6 station. And last year’s celebration turned out to be the most massive in history — then 10 people were caught on New Year’s Eve at once (seven on the ISS, three on the Chinese Tiangong station).

Russian cosmonauts, just like ordinary earthlings, watch the movie “The Irony of Fate, or With a light Steam,” and decorate the interior of the International Space Station with an artificial Christmas tree fixed on one of the walls of the module.

Pilot-cosmonaut Alexander Lazutkin in an interview with Lenta shared interesting details of the celebration of the New Year in zero gravity. For example, the holiday is necessarily accompanied by a solemn lunch and dinner, but without champagne: alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited on the ISS. Food suppliers for astronauts usually send special holiday packages to the crew in advance. In addition, since teams from different countries often meet on the ISS, astronauts regularly exchange delicious gifts.

Another interesting aspect of the New Year in orbit is that it can be met 16 times while the station crosses time zones. But, according to Lazutkin, crews are usually limited to three or four, and do not forget to call their relatives on Earth to congratulate them. But, in general, December 31 in space is not much different from December 31 on the planet — all work at the station must be carried out strictly on schedule, and they cannot be postponed even in honor of the celebration.


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