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Thanksgiving in Space: For Astronauts, It's a Cosmic Friendsgiving!

They may be circling hundreds of miles above the United States, but the three American residents of the International Space Station (opens in new tab) have a plan to celebrate Thanksgiving.

"It's all about the togetherness, but not necessarily the commercialism," said Christina Koch, who is spending nearly a year in space, in a NASA video Monday (opens in new tab) (Nov. 25). 

"In recent years," she added, "I've come to love 'Friendsgiving', and that's a little like what we're having on board here ... although you can say that we're family, too."

Related: Here's What Astronauts Will Eat for Thanksgiving Today (opens in new tab)
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NASA astronauts Jessica Meir (left), Christina Koch (center) and Andrew Morgan will celebrate a "Friendsgiving" in space for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on the International Space Station this Nov. 28, 2019. (Image credit: NASA TV)

U.S. astronauts Koch, Jessica Meir and Andrew Morgan are just half of the population in space right now, forging strong bonds through recent tasks such as ongoing complicated repairs of a dark-matter experiment and conducting the first all-woman spacewalk

Also on board the space station are two Russians (Aleksandr Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka) and an Italian (Luca Parmitano). The Americans said they are eager to share the U.S. holiday with their friends, most especially including the food.

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"When we think of Thanksgiving, we think of friends, family and food," Morgan said, as his crewmates dug below their floating feet to bring out a cornucopia of space food for the Thanksgiving holiday. The astronauts grabbed the packets out of the air and explained their contents. Among them were vegetables, green beans, macaroni and cheese (just needs water!), cornbread and of course, smoked turkey.

More: NASA's Recipe for Space Corn Bread Dressing (opens in new tab)

"I want to know who's going to carve the turkey after it comes out of that pouch," Koch joked. The crew may also come up with a way to create their own pumpkin pie out of supplies on board, including cookies, she hinted. (Their full menu will be shared on the NASA website soon.)

Meir, the daughter of American immigrants, recalled Thanksgivings she had as a child: "I grew up in a family with five kids, and as first-generation Americans, I guess my parents had to learn pretty quick how to put on a great Thanksgiving feast."

As she got older, she added, she "lived in various places" and has enjoyed Thanksgiving with "adopted families all over the country." 

This year, her Thanksgiving celebration will be literally out of this world.

Follow Chelsea Gohd on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.