CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The group of astronauts embarking on the next manned mission with NASA and SpaceX will all cast their votes from space.
NASA and SpaceX will soon send another group of astronauts to the International Space Station, targeting a launch time of 2:40 a.m. EDT on Saturday, October 31st.
Astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will embark on the mission.
During a news conference on Tuesday, astronaut Shannon Walker of NASA revealed that the entire team going on the manned mission will vote from space this election.
She explained that she has done it before while at the International Space Station. She said that she was sent an electronic file, which is in PDF format. She then marked her choices and emailed it back.
According to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, this voting process began in 1997 with Rule 81.35 in the Texas state legislature. It states that "A person who meets the eligibility requirements of a voter under the Texas Election Code, Chapter 101, but who will be on a space flight during the early-voting period and on Election Day, may vote.”
They added that "Before the mission, an astronaut identifies which elections he or she will be in orbit for. Then, before Election Day, an encrypted electronic ballot is uplinked to the astronauts by JSC’s Mission Control. Using a set of unique credentials sent to each of them by e-mail, astronauts can access their ballots, cast their votes, and downlink them back down to Earth to the County Clerk’s office."
The first astronaut to vote from space was said to be NASA's David Wolf. He was aboard the Russian Space Station Mir when he voted in 1997.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum said that the process is not much different from voting absentee, but when astronauts fill out their ballots, they must list their address as "low-Earth orbit."
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest updates from the Space Coast.