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Astronauts To Vote From Space

Commander Mike Fincke (right) and Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff - to highlight their unique voting situation and to encourage others to exercise their civic duty, Fincke and Chamitoff sent a special message. Credit: NASA TV
by Staff Writers
Houston TX (SPX) Oct 28, 2008
In this day and age, people engage in their right to vote from all over the world. But this Nov. 4, few ballots will have traveled as far as those cast by two NASA astronauts.

Commander Edward Michael Fincke and Flight Engineer and Science Officer Greg Chamitoff are living and working onboard the International Space Station. Though they are 220 miles above Earth and orbiting at 17,500 miles per hour, they will still be able to participate in the upcoming election.

A 1997 bill passed by Texas legislators sets up a technical procedure for astronauts -- nearly all of whom live in Houston -- to vote from space.

A secure electronic ballot, generated by the Harris and Brazoria County Clerk's office, is uplinked by NASA's Johnson Space Center Mission Control Center. An e-mail with crew member-specific credentials is sent from the County Clerk to the crew member. These credentials allow the crew member to access the secure ballot.

The astronauts will cast their votes and a secure completed ballot is downlinked and delivered back to the County Clerk's Office by e-mail to be officially recorded.

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US space tourist remembers 'a beautiful ballet'
Moscow (AFP) Oct 27, 2008
US video game guru Richard Garriott, who completed a 30-million dollar trip to the International Space Station this month, said Monday that his flight to space was like "a beautiful ballet."







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