When will ISS astronauts celebrate New Year 2023?
As New Year is around the corner, have you wondered at what time will the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) celebrate the occasion? The ISS, which lies over 400 kilometers above Earth, completes an orbit around the planet every 90 minutes. As a result, the crew members get to see multiple sunsets and sunrises every day—16 to be precise.
Why does this story matter?
- The holiday season calls for celebrations and it is no different for astronauts in space.
- The Expedition 1 crew members who arrived at the ISS in November 2000 were the first to celebrate Christmas and New Year on the space station.
- The current Expedition 68 marks the 24th year of operation of the ISS since the start of its assembly while in orbit.
When will the ISS astronauts celebrate New Year?
The ISS follows Universal Coordinated Time aka Greenwich Mean Time. Hence, the onboard astronauts will celebrate New Year at 5.30 am IST on January 1, 2023. The current crew is from different parts of the world and GMT happens to be the mid-point of these time zones. GMT also allows Houston and Moscow control missions to cover a shift of one half-day each.
Meet the onboard crew members
The seven-membered crew comprises NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, Frank Rubio, and Josh Cassada; Roscosmos cosmonauts Dmitri Petelin, Sergey Prokopyev (Commander), and Anna Kikina; and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata. The ongoing 68th ISS expedition began in September 2022 and will end in March 2023. Russia, Japan, Canada, and the ESA have partnered with NASA to run the space station.
The holiday celebrations date back to 1968
Apollo 8 astronauts, the first humans to have left Earth's orbit, were also the first to celebrate Christmas in space in 1968. Skylab 4 astronauts were the first crew to spend Thanksgiving and New Year's in orbit in 1973 and 1974. The Shenzhou 13 crew members became the first Chinese astronauts to celebrate New Year in space earlier this year.