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  Tuesday, October 20, 2020
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The crew of the International Space Station (ISS) are having Christmas holidays this year
Valery Lyndin, spokesman for the Missions Control Centre, which is near Moscow, told Itar-Tass on Monday that “Valery Tokarev and William McArthur will have days-off on Monday and Tuesday”. The cosmonauts were also free last weekend, true, on Saturday, that is on Catholic Christmas eve, the crew got up from bed only at dinner time, i.e. at 14.30 Moscow time, because they were controlling until 6 a.m. the docking of the Progress M-55 spaceship and unloading it. ISS old-timers say there were never such long holidays in the entire history of the International Space Station. The cosmonauts got many gifts from the Earth from their relatives, colleagues and even from Santa Claus for the Catholic Christmas and the New Year. Unfortunately, there will be no traditional champagne on the orbit this time. According to Chief Missions Controller Vladimir Solovyov, the cargo vehicle, which was docked to the ISS on Friday, brought no champagne or other alcoholic drinks, since a strict “dry law” is currently in force on the International Space Station. True, veteran cosmonauts say that cognac was previously smuggled to the orbit, but the regulations on alcoholic drinks were toughened, mostly on NASA insistence, when work to build the ISS was started. Tokarev and McArthur will be able to sweeten up their lives during the holidays by eating dehydrated fruits and candies, which they got from their relatives, as well as chocolate Christmas tree toys sent to them by Santa Claus. However, they will have much to relax by, since psychologists have sent to the ISS numerous musical CDs and DVD films, including some about various Christmas stories. For the first time in ISS history the cosmonauts will be able to talk on Wednesday, December 28, with Santa Claus, who will specially come to the Missions Control Centre in the town of Korolyovo in order to congratulate the crew on the holidays and to ask them to bring back from the orbit some TV pictures both for children and grown-ups.
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