Washington: A crew of astronauts due to launch to the International Space Station this summer is planning an orbital sporting event to mark the upcoming Olympic Games in London.
NASA astronaut Sunita (Suni) Williams, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency spaceflyer Akihiko Hoshide and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko are due to launch July 14 to the ISS.
Their planned four-month stay in space will overlap with the London 2012 Olympics July 27 to Aug. 12, so the sporty space flyers have something up their sleeves to celebrate the even.
“Something unique about our increment is we have a very huge sports event during our increment, so what we’re talking about amongst ourselves is, why don’t we do some kind of sports event onboard the station too?” Live Science quoted Hoshide as telling reporters during a NASA preview the mission.
“We’re just tossing around ideas right now, what kind of sport event we can do. That’s something I’m looking forward to,” he added.
Astronauts have staged orbital sports before. In fact, for the last Olympic Games, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, the 11 astronauts aboard the space station and the space shuttle Endeavour, which was docked there at the time, recreated the event in orbit.
The spaceflyers tried their hand at space skiing, the zero-G luge and weightless figure skating, all the while beaming a video of their orbital Olympics to Mission Control.
This time around, the space flyers are still working out which orbital events to stage, given their limitations.
First Published: Monday, June 18, 2012, 11:21