4 Out-of-This-World Dads Celebrate Father's Day in Space

Oleg Artemyev video-chats with family
Russian cosmonaut and Expedition 56 Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev video-chats with his wife and daughter from the International Space Station. (Image credit: Oleg Artemyev/Roscosmos/Twitter)

As dads around the world celebrate Father's Day today (June 17), four far-out fathers will spend the holiday floating 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the Earth at the International Space Station

NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev (four of the six crewmembers currently aboard the space station for Expedition 56) all have kids back on Earth. 

While these space travelers won't be able to kick back and relax with their kids in person, they at least have the option to video chat with their families. The crewmembers typically get Sundays off from work, so they'll have some free time for virtual family fun on Father's Day. [Space Gifts 2018: These Father's Day Gifts Are Out of This World]

Each of the four dads aboard the space station has two kids back on Earth. Artemyev, who launched on March 21 along with fellow "space dads" Feustel and Arnold, left behind his 6-month-old daughter and an older son when he blasted off into orbit. 

Despite having lived on the space station for almost three months now, Artemyev still keeps in touch with his family via regular video chats. In photos Artemyev shared on Twitter, his infant daughter looks delighted to see his face — albeit on a computer screen. 

Feustel's two sons and Arnold's two daughters are all young adults. One of Feustel's sons just graduated from college this spring, and the astronaut beamed his congratulations to Earth from space via Twitter. These three dads will have spent six months and 13 days in space before returning to Earth on Oct. 4. 

Prokopyev, who arrived on a different Soyuz nine days ago, still has another six months left during Expeditions 56 and 57. He has one son and one daughter, according to spacefacts.de

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev holds his infant daughter at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, a few weeks before he and his Expedition 55/56 crewmates lifted off to the International Space Station on March 21, 2018. To his right are his wife and son, who is holding hands with NASA astronaut Drew Feustel. On the left is NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold. (Image credit: Elizabeth Weissinger/NASA)

The other two astronauts who flew to the International Space Station with Prokopyev are not dads, but NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor (the only woman currently in space) has a daughter and a husband back on Earth. German astronaut Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency is the only current crewmember who has no children.

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at FutureFlight.aero and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at Space.com. As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.