US Election: Two astronauts cast their votes from space
As US gets ready for what many are calling the most important election in the country’s history, two American astronauts orbiting the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour have performed their civic duty by casting a vote from space.
According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), astronaut Shane Kimbrough has officially filed his electronic absentee ballot from the International Space Station (ISS).
Another astronaut Kate Rubins cast her ballot before returning to Earth last week.
For astronauts, the voting process starts a year prior to their launch, thanks to a bill passed by Texas legislatures in 1997 that put in place technical voting procedure for astronauts.
They are asked to select which elections (local/state/federal) that they want to participate in while in space.
Then, six months before the election, astronauts are provided with a standard form: the “Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request — Federal Post Card Application”, the U.S. space agency said in a statement.
The two astronauts, both residents of Houston where the Johnson Space Centre is located, cast their vote while in orbit.
Reportedly, ‘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.
Current space station resident astronaut Shane Kimbrough is the most recent astronaut to take advantage of the opportunity.
Although astronauts have the advantage of skipping the line when it comes to casting their vote, they miss out on the ‘I Voted’ sticker that is presented to every voter.