From about 250 miles above Earth, orbiting the planet at 17,500 miles per hour aboard the International Space Station, American astronaut Kathleen Rubins voted in the election, joining millions of others in the country who voted earlier.
“If we can do it from space, then I believe people can do it from the ground,” she said in a video posted on NASA’s website.
An astronaut and marine biologist, Mrs. Rubins, who passed by Kate, was the first person to sequence DNA in space during a mission in 201
As it turns out, Ms. Rubins may have had an easier time voting from space than if she had returned to Earth.
In New York, where early voting began on Saturday, tens of thousands of voters waited for hours to vote, with lines drawn for blocks outside polling stations. Similar scenes have been reported in other states.
By election day, which is still eight days away, more than 59 million Americans have already voted, surpassing the 2016 early voting record.
Astronauts have been voting from space since 1997, when lawmakers in Texas established a technical procedure that allowed them to vote. Many astronauts choose to register in Texas because they train at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Mrs. Rubins skipped the queues, but had to take a few extra steps to vote from space. First, before the rocket was launched, it signaled its intention to run in the election by filling out a Federal application for a postcard, the same form filled out by military members serving outside the United States, NASA said in a statement on its website.
The next step, like most things at NASA, involved a test launch. The district official sent a test vote to a team at the Houston Space Center, where officials checked to see if they could fill out the ballot and send it back.
After the test, the space center’s mission control center linked Ms. Rubins’ bulletin. From space, she voted, which officials transferred over the line and returned to the district official’s office by email.
Ms. Rubins ‘vote last week came well before the astronauts’ deadline of 7 p.m.