Lifestyle & Belief

Astronauts watch Olympics from space


With planet Earth as a backdrop, the International Space Station (ISS) is seen from NASA space shuttle Endeavour after the station and shuttle began their post-undocking relative separation May 29, 2011 in space.



The London Games can claim a seriously wide-ranging audience this year, with astronauts watching game coverage from outer space. 

International Space Station astronaut Joe Acaba described the experience on his "The Great Outer Space" blog on Tuesday: 

Even with all the work we had to do, we found time to get together and watch the Olympics. Of course everyone knows there is something special about the Olympics and that feeling is not lost in space. We were able to see Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian and Gabby Douglas’ nerves of steel as she won the individual Gymnastics gold medal. ... To watch them while orbiting above the Earth makes them even more special for us (even though we often miss the end of a competition because we lose satellite coverage). 

The International Space Station is home to a total of six astronauts at present: NASA spaceflyers Acaba and Sunita Williams, Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, Yuri Malenchenko and Sergei Revin, and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, according to

You can see what they're seeing from space by viewing their current position here

Williams, a record-breaking astronaut herself, earlier said she was looking forward to seeing the games from space. "I mean, the Olympics, what is it — it's an international competition, to foster friendship and, and competition across, across the planet, and I think that's exactly what the International Space Station is," she told The Press Trust of India

Acaba felt the same way, writing

I have noticed two things while watching these games. One is that no matter what the sport or which country is winning, we all appreciate the efforts of the athletes and acknowledge their abilities. We truly have an international crew on the ISS: ... Just like watching a basketball game with your buddy that is from a different city, we give each other a hard time but congratulate with sincerity the winning team or individual. It is easy to see why we do this when you look out the window from the ISS. We all come from the same place, Planet Earth.