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Two US astronauts to cast votes from space

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Oct 31, 2008
Two US astronauts who are soaring in orbit hundreds of kilometers from Earth will be able to vote in the US election on November 4, the US space agency NASA said.

Commander Mike Fincke and Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff, who are working aboard the International Space Station, are to vote by secure electronic ballot uplinked by Johnson Space Center in Houston, according to NASA.

Their votes will be submitted by secure link back to Earth, and recorded by local voting officials in Texas.

"Although we're a long way from home as we orbit more than 200 miles (322 kilometers) above our beautiful planet, we are exercising our constitutional right and privilege in casting our ballot this election day," said Fincke in a video recently posted on NASA's website.

"If we can do it so can you."

Astronauts can vote from space due to a 1997 bill passed by Texas legislators which set up the process. Nearly all US astronauts live in Houston, NASA said.

The astronauts have not revealed for whom they intend to vote.

Democrat Barack Obama is facing off against Republican John McCain in the presidential race on November 4, when congressional voting also takes place.

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Expedition 17 Set To Undock Today
Houston TX (SPX) Oct 24, 2008
With the Expedition 18 crew officially in command of the International Space Station, the Expedition 17 crew has finished making its final departure preparations and is ready to return to Earth. Outgoing commander Sergei Volkov officially handed over control of the station to new commander Mike Fincke Wednesday afternoon.







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