Domino’s doesn’t deliver, there’s no alcohol, and no fresh coffee, but the astronauts aboard the International Space Station are going to have a real treat. They just got a special delivery of chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream, shipped 220 miles from Earth. So this evening, a rare ice cream social for station Commander Sunita (Suni) Williams, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko.
“Homemade ice cream is something special, we’re going to have a little party,” Williams told ABC News in a conversation from the Space Station.
The ice cream, packed in small cups like the ones children eat with wooden ice cream spoons, came up on the SpaceX Dragon capsule, which docked with the ISS yesterday. The capsule carried food, clothes and science experiments, and is the wave of the future for NASA, which wants to rely on private companies to deliver cargo and even astronauts to the space station.
This is Williams’ second six-month stay on the station, and to hear her tell it, the now-completed science lab in the sky is as busy as a truck stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. Since Williams arrived in mid-July, the crew has welcomed a Japanese cargo vehicle, a Russian cargo ship, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and now the Dragon capsule. In two weeks, another Soyuz will dock to bring three additional crew members.
Williams, a Navy Captain, is only the second female commander of the International Space Station, and holds the record for the longest continuous spaceflight by a woman, the number of spacewalks by a woman, and most spacewalk time by a woman. They’re hardly her only claims to fame. In September, Williams completed the first-ever triathlon from space, biking on an exercise bike, running on a treadmill, and using a special weight-lifting resistance machine to simulate a half-mile swim.
From her vantage point high above the earth, Williams is watching the seasons change, from summer green to autumn red in the Northern Hemisphere. She’ll be home in time for Thanksgiving, but not for Election Day. With no polling place in space, Williams said she just managed to get an absentee ballot before her liftoff. She’s legally a Florida voter. Her ballot has already been signed sealed and delivered.