Happy Independence Day, from the only two Americans living off the planet at the moment.
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Nick Hague beamed a Fourth of July video message home from the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday (July 3).
"As we orbit our planet high above you, we want to take a moment and wish all Americans, at home and around the world, a very happy Fourth of July," Koch said in the video.
She and Hague struck a patriotic tone, wearing special American-flag-themed flight suits and taping the message next to a flag-festooned wall. The astronauts also lauded the many space-exploration feats the United States has pulled off to date and stressed that more big things are coming down the pike.
"It's an incredibly exciting time for spaceflight in America," Hague said. "From the completion of the first flight in the commercial crew program to the unveiling of the bold plan to send the first woman and the next man to the moon by 2024, this is a unique moment in history in which we can cast our eyes to the sky and to the heavens and be proud to be an American."
The two Americans and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, who commands the ISS's current Expedition 60 mission, are the only people aboard the ISS at the moment. All three spaceflyers will get the holiday off, NASA officials said.
Meanwhile, their three future Expedition 60 crewmates — NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, the European Space Agency's Luca Parmitano and cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov — will take a Fourth of July flight from Russia to their launch site, Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Morgan, Parmitano and Skvortsov are scheduled to launch toward the ISS on July 20, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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Mike Wall's book about the search for alien life, "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), is out now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.