Space crew to celebrate alcohol-free New Year…16 times!

Two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut on board the International Space Station have promised Father Frost that they'll celebrate the New Year without alcohol.

They were speaking to Russia's Santa Claus who visited Ground Control in Moscow to send New Year greetings to space.

The crew of the 18th ISS mission, US Commander Mike Fincke, Flight Engineer Sandra Magnus and Russian Flight Engineer Yury Lonchakov sent a message wishing peace and friendship to everyone back on Earth.

Although Father Frost said many people were telling him about the global financial crisis, the crew assured him that they couldn't see any evidence of it from space.

“The main thing is that there is no crisis in one's soul. If there is no crisis, everything will be okay,” Father Frost said.

The crew will have a busy time ringing in 2009 on the ISS since the craft orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, meaning those on board will get to welcome in the New Year many times over.

Yury Lonchakov said:

“We will celebrate New Year 16 times. Every time is going to be different and alcohol-free, as usual.”

Commander Mike Fincke wished all the best to all people on Earth, saying that everyone thinks about the future. The ISS is the symbol of the future, which we can make ourselves, the astronaut said.

Soon after the New Year holidays, the fifth space tourist, Charles Simonyi, will begin training at Zvezdny Gorodok outside Moscow. He may become the world's first amateur astronaut to undertake two space missions.