Happy birthday Andreas Mogensen! International Space Station astronaut celebrates in space

an astronaut smiles in a white spacesuit bearing the red and white flag of Denmark
ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut and Expedition 70 Commander Andreas Mogensen is pictured trying on his spacesuit and testing its components aboard the International Space Station's Quest airlock. (Image credit: NASA/JSC)

Denmark's astronaut Andreas Mogensen said he was happy to see the sun on his birthday in space.

The Expedition 70 commander on the International Space Station, who was also the first Dane in space in 2015, posted about his orbital birthday on X (formerly Twitter) about why solar views are especially celebrated on birthdays.

"We also have a saying that if the sun shines on your birthday, it means you have been good this year — and the sun is always shining in space," Mogensen wrote on Thursday (Nov. 2), alongside a photo of him behind the camera at the ISS wraparound Cupola window.

Mogensen added he is missing his family, but he was glad to spend time with a "great crew who celebrated it (my birthday) with me."

Related: Spectacular purple and gold auroras glow over Denmark (photos)

People who live in Denmark also celebrate birthdays by flying the national flag, the Dannebrog, Mogensen explained. "It becomes a birthday flag, which symbolizes happiness, celebration, and smiles," he said.

Mogensen also included a view of the Dannebrog in the ISS, nestled in between the flags of Greenland (left) and the flag of the Faroe Islands (at right). These are two special autonomous regions of Denmark that are not part of the European Union.

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The Dannebrog has been referenced in historical documentation at least as far back as the 14th century. Legend, however, says it fell from heaven during the Crusades-era Battle of Lyndanisse (near modern Tallinn, Estonia) in 1219, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

Mogensen's birthday came amid a busy week for the ISS. On Tuesday (Nov. 1), Expedition 70 crewmates and NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O'Hara completed the fourth all-woman spacewalk in history, spending 6 hours and 42 minutes doing maintenance. Mogensen is set for his own extravehicular activity later in 2023. 

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace