Christmas on the International Space Station

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Expedition 34 crew members assemble in the Unity node on December 24, 2012.[1]
Mike Hopkins on his Christmas Eve spacewalk to fix a coolant pump

Christmas on the International Space Station covers the celebration of Christmas on the International Space Station. Christmas is a seasonal religious and secular celebration, and is celebrated each year by the International Space Station crew, their families, and ground-staff. Crew are given time off duty according to their respective culture, religion and ethnicity. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas according to the Julian calendar, whilst the Catholic Church uses the Gregorian calendar so the crew may celebrate Christmas more than once on the station choosing between December 25 or January 6, 7 or 19.

Expedition One arrived on the ISS on 2 November 2000, celebrating their first Christmas on board the station later that year.[2] Other celebrations included Expedition 30, with the arrival of Donald Pettit, Oleg Kononenko, and André Kuipers.[3][4]

On 24 December 2013, astronauts made a rare Christmas Eve space walk, installing a new ammonia pump for the station's cooling system. The faulty cooling system had failed earlier in the month, halting many of the station's science experiments. Astronauts had to brave a "mini blizzard" of noxious ammonia while installing the new pump. It was only the second Christmas Eve spacewalk in NASA history.[5]


  1. ^ ISS034-E-010476 (24 Dec. 2012)
  2. ^ McNicholl, Sinead (15 December 2010). "Christmas Day in Space". Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Moskowitz, Clara (23 December 2011). "3 Astronauts Arrive at Space Station for the Holidays". Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Wall, Mike (24 December 2011). "How Astronauts Celebrate Christmas in Space". Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  5. ^ AP (24 December 2013). "Astronauts Complete Rare Christmas Eve Spacewalk". Leaker. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 

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