Four American astronauts plan to vote from space this year

Up to 4 American astronauts plan to vote within the normal election from orbit this year, persevering with an extended custom of individuals casting their ballots from space.

The first astronaut slated to arrive on the ISS forward of the election is Kate Rubins, who’s launching on a Russian Soyuz rocket on October 14th together with two Russian cosmonauts. Rubins informed the Associated Press she plans to solid her poll whereas in orbit. “I think it’s really important for everybody to vote,” Rubins informed the AP. “If we can do it from space, then I believe folks can do it from the ground, too.”

She’ll then be joined by three extra American astronauts — Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker — who will likely be on the second flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon on October thirty first, together with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. They additionally plan to vote from orbit.

“All of us are planning on voting from space,” Walker stated throughout a press convention. “NASA works very well with the different election organizations, because we’re all voting in different counties. But it was easiest for us just to say we were going to vote from space, so that’s what we’re going to do.” Walker really has voted from orbit earlier than, throughout her first journey to the International Space Station in 2010.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins in her flight swimsuit forward of launch.
Image: NASA

Casting a poll from space is a reasonably easy course of. NASA has maintained a steady human presence on the International Space Station for the final 20 years, so the company has numerous expertise with serving to astronauts vote. Before flying, NASA astronauts fill out a Federal Post Card Application, which is identical type members of the army use for absentee voting whereas deployed.

Once that’s permitted, the county clerks who oversee elections inside every of the astronauts’ dwelling counties ship take a look at ballots to NASA, that are safe PDFs. The company then assessments out if the ballots may be stuffed out from space, utilizing a coaching pc. If that works, then NASA’s Mission Control Center emails the astronauts their ballots on Election Day; the astronauts choose the candidates they need after which electronic mail it again to NASA, which then sends the ballots to the assorted county clerks’ workplaces.

Of course, voting whereas in space is contingent on the astronauts being in space, and launches are susceptible to delays. But as of now, all 4 Americans may very well be off-world for what has formed up to be a contentious election throughout a contentious year. As a nod to how tough this year has been, the astronauts flying with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon even named their automobile Resilience.

“That means functioning well in times of stress or overcoming adverse events,” Hopkins stated concerning the identify. “I think all of us can agree that 2020 has certainly been a challenging year: a global pandemic, economic hardships, civil unrest, isolation.”

And now there’s an election to high all of it off. But at the very least 4 Americans will get to be as distant from it as they’ll presumably be.


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