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30 Dec, 2019 15:10

Orbiting toward 2020: New Year tree launched in zero-g aboard International Space Station

The crew of the ISS is fully geared for a New Year’s party. The walls of the station, orbiting the Earth at an altitude of over 400km, have been decorated and an adorned fir tree sent flying between the modules.

The holiday mood aboard the ISS was captured in a video, published by Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos. There are oranges, sweets, toys and New Year-themed banners prepared by the crew for the celebrations.

The traditional sock for presents is also there, attached to one of the walls. Father Frost would have to make a huge detour on New Year’s Eve to be able to put some gifts there, but his sleds are no doubt able to reach the escape velocity of over 11km per second, required to beat the gravity of the Earth and liftoff into space.

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Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Aleksandr Skvortsov have also recorded New Year greetings to those down on Earth, saying that “on the final day of the year, we get together to say some warm words and wish all the best to those dear to us. We, the large international ISS family, do the same.”

Besides the Russians, there are currently US astronauts Jessica Meir, Drew Morgan and Christina Koch; as well as Italian spaceman, Luca Parmitano, on board the station.
Skripochka and Skvortsov said they wanted everyone to remember only the best things from the past year, while leaving everything bad behind them as they enter 2020.   

Let’s wish each other great achievements, amazing discoveries as well as joy, happiness, good health and wellbeing. Happy New Year!

Roscosmos certainly has a lot of good things to remember from 2019. It carried out 24 space launches, both manned and unmanned over the last 364 days, with all of them being successful.

The agency plans to increase the number of launches to 40 next year, with Baikonur, Vostochny and Plesetsk cosmodromes, as well as the Space Center in French Guiana, to be used to perform them.

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