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ISS astronauts celebrate Thanksgiving with thermo-stabilized yams

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station celebrated Thanksgiving with a delicious feast. NASA astronauts and their international colleagues ate space versions of many Americans’ Thanksgiving favorites: Irradiated smoked turkey, thermo-stabilized yams, special cornbread dressing, Russian mashed potatoes and a cranberry-apple dessert.

Expedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford recorded a special Thanksgiving message for viewers back home.

“One of the things I’d like to say we’re really thankful for, of course outside of our family and friends, is the support we received from Earth 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round from our international flight control team,” he said.

Vickie Kloeris, NASA food scientist and manager of the ISS food system, spoke with about the Thanksgiving preparation aboard the ISS. She told the popular online news site that a lot of work goes into making a Thanksgiving meal in space.

“Thanksgiving is not a holiday that the Russians celebrate, but we have found that on orbit the crewmembers celebrate each others’ holidays,” Ms. Kloeris said. “They will take part in Kevin Ford’s celebration of Thanksgiving, just as American crewmembers will take part in some of the Russian holidays.” points that astronauts have a better selection of Thanksgiving food nowadays than they had during the earlier space missions.

“If you want to go all the way back to Mercury and Gemini, there were no holiday meals back then,” Ms. Kloeris said. “All you had was cube foods and tube foods. We’ve definitely expanded greatly the amount of traditional items that we have made available for holiday times, and that only makes sense because when we started having crewmembers stay on space station long term, we knew every year we’d be hitting Thanksgiving and Christmas with somebody.”

If Mr. Ford and his international colleagues grow tired of the current selection of Thanksgiving food, they can dip into a container of marshmallow cream that was left at the space station by fellow astronaut Sunita Williams when she returned to Earth earlier this week.

“Peanut butter and marshmallow cream sandwich on a tortilla! My ultimate is a thin spreading of peanut butter, then about and inch of marshmallow cream. Heaven,” Ms. Williams wrote in a mission blog.

From 200 miles above the Earth, the ISS crewmembers hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving.