NASA astronauts at the International Space Station will only enjoy a half-day off from work on Labor Day today (Sept. 5).
While most federal workers across the U.S. are enjoying the national holiday off, the three NASA astronauts at the orbiting laboratory — Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur — have a few science tasks on their schedules, Dan Huot, a NASA spokesperson with the Johnson Space Center in Houston, told Space.com.
“Right now looks like the crew has a half-day off on Monday,” Huot said. “As usual, the flight control team will find a make-up day in the future to give them time off,” he added.
Space station astronauts conduct hundreds of scientific experiments while living and working at the International Space Station, and some experiments require daily attention — even on national holidays. The Expedition 65 crew just received a fresh shipment of science gear and other cargo last week with the arrival of SpaceX’s Dargon CRS-23 cargo resupply mission. Along with bone, plant and materials science investigations, the astronauts also received a special treat with SpaceX’s cargo shipment: plenty of ice cream.
There are currently seven international crewmembers living and working at the orbiting laboratory. Along with the three U.S. astronauts, the Expedition 65 crew includes cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency.
Vande Hei, Dubrov and Novitskiy arrived at the space station April 9 on the Russian Soyuz MS-18 mission. About two weeks later, Kimbrough, McArthur, Pesquet and Hoshide arrived on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour with the Crew-2 mission.
The Crew Dragon is expected to return to Earth with the same four-person crew in November. Vande Hei and Dubrov are expected to remain at the station until March; their two seats on the returning Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft next month will be filled by Russian filmmakers Kim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild, who will launch on a two-week mission to the ISS on Oct. 5.