With reduced capacity at the stadium for this year’s Super Bowl, most fans will have to watch the game from home. But some people will be watching from even further away, like the astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) which is due to fly over the stadium during the game.
The ISS crew, which is currently larger than usual with a total of seven astronauts on board, is enjoying a three-day weekend and taking a much-deserved break after a busy month of spacewalks and cargo ship departures. And on the evening of Sunday, February 7, the station’s orbital path will take it over the location of the Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida.
According to NASA’s Spot the Station tool, the ISS will pass over Tampa at 7:15 p.m. ET on Sunday, roughly 45 minutes after the game’s kickoff at 6:30 p.m. ET. JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi even snapped a photo of the Super Bowl location as he flew over it on Friday, sharing the photo of the host city of Tampa on Twitter:
— NOGUCHI, Soichi 野口 聡－（のぐち そういち） (@Astro_Soichi) February 5, 2021
This won’t be the only notable event for the ISS crew this weekend. NASA says that the crew of Expedition 64 — NASA flight engineers Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and JAXA flight engineer Noguchi — are set to surpass the previous record for most days spent in space by a single crew launched aboard a U.S. spacecraft. The previous record was 84 days, set all the way back in 1974 by the Skylab 4 crew. Now, with the start of operations of the new SpaceX Crew Dragon crew capsule, launches from the U.S. are underway once more.
Also aboard the space station currently are NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, who have been there since October 2020. They are set to be joined by three more Roscosmos cosmonauts in April this year, making for a very busy 10-person crew in total. That won’t last for long though, as the original three crew members will be heading back to Earth a few weeks later.