Eytan Stibbe, the second-ever Israeli astronaut to take off on a space mission, on Tuesday sent a video messages to Israelis, wishing them a happy Passover from the International Space Station (ISS).
Stibbe is one of four men who lifted off on Friday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, beginning a landmark debut flight and orbital science mission for the Houston-based startup Axiom Space Inc.
The astronaut continues to conduct dozens of scientific experiments under the "Rakia Mission", and on Tuesday he took a moment to look down at the earth and spot Israel from space.
After being in space for several days now, Stibbe tells Ynet about his adjustment to zero-gravity conditions: "The situation is much much better than the first day. Now we're feeling free, checking out the space... the brain adjusts to it in a comfortable way."
Stibbe spoke of his busy schedule amid his venture, sharing that his day starts at 6 AM "getting ready in front of the sleeping area, showering, breakfast", he elaborates. "At 7-7:30 we get our things together for the rest of the day and then there is a morning briefing for everyone together, for the entire team at the station, 11 astronomers. After that we disperse to our work positions according to the work plan.
"There is a lot of mutual assistance, whoever finishes his mission early goes to see how the others are doing and whoever's lagging behind gets help from others," Stibbe describes the cooperative spirit at the ISS. "The professional team that's here from NASA help a lot in everything that we're doing here."
Stibbe said he was lucky enough to see Israel from space on Tuesday: "During breakfast I ran to the window, saw Israel and snatched the closest camera. Beautiful pictures, even though the north was a bit cloudy, but the central and southern regions were exposed. I assume I'll have more opportunities, during the day and at night."
Like all other Jews on earth, Stibbe intends to celebrate Passover on Friday evening. "There's no wine, there is matzah. There's gefilte fish. The Russian offered me gefilte fish, looks very tasty," he describes the festivities awaiting him. "I have a glass, not that I need a glass to drink, but I will drink and I have a glass for Eliyah HaNavi," Stibbe said referring to the Passover traditions.