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NASA’s Reid Wiseman and Steve Swanson and the European Space Agency’s Astronaut Alexander Gerst will be cheering on their home countries’ World Cup 2014 teams, but will the post-goal celebrations be as uplifting as those on Earth?
The astronauts have trained for years to work together as a unified crew, so they’re already 260 miles above Earth aboard the International Space Station. But US astronauts Swanson and Wiseman and their German crewmate Gerst will feel the friendly competition more keenly on June 26, when their home countries play against each other for a chance to advance. Either or both could advance out of Group G under different scenarios possible in this year’s World Cup matches. USA and Germany face off at 11 am CDT (noon EDT) June 26 at Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil.
Wiseman kidded his colleagues in orbit that the stronger US team spirit aboard the space station is a sign the US will be stronger on the field too. “I believe we will win. It’s two against one up here, so I think the U.S. chances are pretty good,” Wiseman said during an in-flight interview with ESPN on June 24.
Wiseman says the crew already is checking its busy schedule for Thursday to see how they can fit in watching the game during what will be afternoon time for them.
Gerst is optimistic that the two teams will meet again. “I hope we kick their butt a little bit, but I’m going to hope it’s going to be at the final game, not at this game on Thursday,” Gerst said.
It may be just a friendly competition among the crew members, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t stakes involved. “If the U.S. wins, these guys are going to draw a little U.S. flag on my head, but I think if Germany wins these guys should have to shave their heads. Either way I’m looking forward to the game. It’s going to be fun,” Gerst said.
Wiseman and Gerst arrived at the space station May 28 as part of the Expedition 40/41 crew and are scheduled to spend the next several months living and working in space until they return to Earth in November. Swanson arrived as part of the Expedition 39/40 crew on March 25 and is expected to return home in September.
NASA has more connections to the World Cup than you might think. For more information visit http://www.nasa.gov/worldcup
NASA’s Reid Wiseman and Steve Swanson and the European Space Agency’s Astronaut Alexander Gerst will be cheering on their home countries’ World Cup 2014 teams.