A trio of cosmonauts living on the International Space Station celebrated a second Christmas in orbit today (Jan. 7) to mark Russian Orthodox Christmas.
The three cosmonauts have the day off in space today to celebrate the Russian holiday, which comes just over two weeks after the Dec. 25 Christmas holiday. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas according to the Julian calendar, marking the event today instead of on Dec. 25.
The Russian members of the space station's crew includes cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri, Oleg Skripochka and Dmitry Kondratyev. Together they make up half of the space station's current six-person crew. Two Americans and an Italian round out the crew.
"The cosmonauts will have an off-duty day and our understanding is they are planning the traditional special greeting for them from the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church," NASA spokesperson Nicole Cloutier-Lemasters told SPACE.com from the Johnson Space Center in Houston.