As if living on the International Space Station (ISS) isn’t good enough, some astronauts even enjoy their birthdays there.
The ISS has been continuously rotating its crew over the past 20 years, the occasional birthdays aboard the orbiting outpost are inevitable, the most recent being just a few days ago.
NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough turns 54 on Friday, June 4, and of course his six fellow crew members made sure to hold some celebrations for his big day.
You won’t be surprised to learn that birthday parties on the ISS are a little different from a back one on terra firma. For starters, alcohol isn’t allowed on the space station, so isn’t a celebratory question. And while some people on Earth may opt for a birthday barbecue, most meals on the space station are less exciting; Even cakes made in the traditional way disappear because of the problem with the machine floating in the crumbs.
yet it birthday in space. On the ISS, such an occasion is an opportunity for crew members to take a break from their jobs, play some party music on the station’s musical instruments, and make the birthday boy or girl feel a little special. And then of course you have awesome views of Earth and beyond, and, well, how many birthday parties have you gone to where you can literally swim around the room?
Recent data from NASA has shown that more than 80 birthdays have been celebrated on the ISS so far. Many crew members have been on repeated missions to the space station during their careers, some even having enjoyed more than one birthday there. Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka holds the record with four birthdays aboard the ISS in 2004, 2009, 2012 and 2015.
And while Padalka has enjoyed several birthday wishes aboard the station, NASA astronaut Victor Glover recently suffered a stroke of luck when his 45th birthday coincided with his first space trip.
life goes on @space Station, and @astrowickglover It was his birthday just before he left. Daya som ami for all your help. I was told by @astropaggy Birthdays celebrated in space don’t count and I stick to that! pic.twitter.com/Ep8hHH5OPo
— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) 3 May 2021
NASA notes Before the ISS went into operation on its website, “dozens more astronauts and cosmonauts celebrated their special day in orbit, mostly on Soviet and Russian space stations.”
The first birthday to be celebrated in space was that of Soviet cosmonaut Viktor Patsayev aboard the Salyut space station in June 1971, while Pete Conrad was the first American to experience a space birthday during the Skylab mission in June 1973.
The first woman to celebrate a birthday away from Earth was NASA astronaut Janet Kavandi, who turned 42 during a Space Shuttle mission in July 2001. The same birthday was also the first one aboard the ISS. The youngest birthday was 33 and the oldest 60 years aboard the Mir space station and the ISS, respectively.
To learn more about life on the International Space Station, take a moment to check out this collection of videos made by astronauts over the years.