US elections 2016: This is how astronauts vote from space!

Kimbrough, 45, who arrived on board the ISS in mid-October, became the latest astronaut to join in a long tradition of voting while orbiting the Earth.

Updated: Nov 09, 2016, 11:01 AM IST
US elections 2016: This is how astronauts vote from space!
Image Kjell Lindgren released on social media of the US flag floating in the Cupola module (11/12/2015)- Photo credit: NASA/Tumblr

New Delhi: As the US citizens cast their votes in presidential elections, NASA on Tuesday announced that astronaut Shane Kimbrough, the only US citizen in space on Election Day, cast his vote from the International Space Station (ISS).

Kimbrough, 45, who arrived on board the ISS in mid-October, became the latest astronaut to join in a long tradition of voting while orbiting the Earth at 27,000 kms (17,780 miles) per hour.

Thanks to a bill passed by Texas legislatures in 1997 that enables astronauts orbit the Earth to vote on Election Day via technical voting procedure - provided, they request their ballots one year before launch.

As per NASA, for astronauts, the voting process starts a year before launch, when astronauts are able to select which elections (local/state/federal) that they want to participate in while in space.

The astronauts are provided with a standard form: the “Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request – Federal Post Card Application” - six months before the election.

Although astronauts don’t have to wait in line for his ballot like the rest of us, there is one disadvantage to voting in space: they miss out on the highly coveted “I Voted” sticker, NASA said.

Space voting’ was first used the same year it was implemented in 1997. when NASA astronaut David Wolf became the first American to vote in space while on the Russian Mir Space Station.

David Wolf

(STS-86 crewmember David Wolf, the first American to vote in space, relaxes in the Spacehab module while Space Shuttle Atlantis was docked to Mir (10/16/1997- Photo credit: NASA/Tumblr ) 

Besides Kimbrough, US astronaut Kate Rubins, who returned to earth last week after 115-day on board the ISS also voted from space.