Move aside, Space Mountain! Recently, three astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) turned their routine orbit-boosting task into a playful amusement park experience. When the ISS needed a slight lift in its orbit, a Russian Progress spacecraft fired its engines for about 13 minutes, nudging the station a few miles higher above Earth. With this operation completed on a leisurely Saturday, the Expedition 70 astronauts found themselves with some downtime in orbit, floating roughly 250 miles above the planet’s surface.
Seizing the opportunity for a bit of fun, the astronauts set up a camera and got creative. They bunched up into little balls, ready to feel the effects of the thruster fire. Positioned in the Harmony node, they floated weightlessly, hands gently clasped above their knees, while NASA’s Jasmin Moghbeli provided lively commentary.
As the engines roared to life, exerting a gentle force on the ISS, the astronauts began to experience the subtle push and pull of microgravity in a playful manner. Moghbeli, Mogensen, and O’Hara leaned back and floated, almost as if they were on a cosmic roller coaster. The scene was both delightful and heartwarming, particularly when they briefly obstructed the path of another crew member attempting to enter the Destiny laboratory.
This impromptu amusement ride is just one example of how astronauts inject a bit of levity into their busy schedules aboard the ISS. Even amidst the demands of space exploration, there’s always room for a touch of creativity and fun.