What if Olympics were held in space? Nasa astronauts, cosmonauts offer a glimpse

  • The crew members of the International Space Station split into teams for the first-ever space games, including synchronized floating and no-hand ball.
Nasa shared a video of friendly games played by the crew members to celebrate the Summer Games in Tokyo.(Nasa)
Nasa shared a video of friendly games played by the crew members to celebrate the Summer Games in Tokyo.(Nasa)
Published on Aug 07, 2021 07:51 PM IST
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Byhindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

While the Tokyo Olympics is nearing its end, a different set of games were held in space by astronauts and cosmonauts. Based on the spacecraft they took to the International Space Station (ISS), the crew members of the orbiting laboratory split into teams for the first-ever space games, including synchronized floating and no-hand ball.

Nasa astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who arrived at the space station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, were on Team Dragon. Nasa astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos were on Team Soyuz.

“Synchronized floating. No-hand ball. What if the #Olympics were held in space? We wanted to find out. @Space_Station crew members split into teams for a friendly competition, high above Earth. Presenting the Space Games:” tweeted Nasa, along with a video of friendly games played by the crew members to celebrate the Summer Games in Tokyo.

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In the video, the two teams can be seen competing against each other in no-hand ball. As per the game rules, the players must get the ping pong ball through the hatch seals without touching the ball with any of their body parts. They were allowed to use only their breath to move the ball around. The second round was ‘synchronised floating’, a game similar to synchronised swimming.

“I think we’re about to see some magic,” says the narrator before the Soyuz team makes synchronized moves inside the space station.


The ISS has now more than 20 years of continuous human presence. According to Nasa, people from 19 countries have visited the space station, which has hosted more than 3,000 research investigations from scientists, researchers, and students from more than 108 countries and areas. In April, the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Soyuz spacecraft delivered the seven-member crew for a six-month science mission in microgravity.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021