An upcoming delivery mission may be delayed because of the cooling system trouble. The commercial Cygnus capsule, currently scheduled for a Wednesday launch from Wallops Island, Va., almost certainly holds holiday surprises for the astronauts, along with the usual stash of supplies.
At least Mastracchio doesn't have to cram in any last-minute Christmas shopping, using the space station's Internet phone or online capability. The 53-year-old engineer said he bought presents for his wife before he rocketed into orbit at the beginning of November for a six-month mission.
"Being away from your friends and family during the holidays is not optimal," he told the AP. "But if you have to be away from your family on Christmas, then this is sure not a bad place to be."
And children, stay tuned.
"We're always on the lookout for Santa up here," Mastracchio said with a smile.