World Cup 2014 is now more than just a global event. The crew of International Space Station Expedition 40 will be able to watch all the games from space, with some friendly competition among the astronauts.
According to NASA, the ISS crew will watch all the World Cup games from orbit. NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman and Steve Swanson, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Alexander Skvortsov and Max Suraev are currently aboard the ISS and will cheer on their respective teams as the World Cup kicks off on Thursday. Swanson is the ISS Expedition 40 Commander.
The World Cup is not the first sporting event to be broadcast in space. Most recently, Super Bowl XLVIII was viewed aboard the ISS with NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins cheering on the Denver Broncos. The ISS astronauts are unable to watch the World Cup games live, but NASA will upload the matches shortly after they broadcast.
It's pretty clear which teams the astronauts will be rooting for, but the World Cup group stage has led to some friendly competition. Gerst hails from Germany, and his national team is in Group G along with the United States, Portugal and Ghana. Germany plays the U.S. on June 28, and as it could be the last match for both teams the stakes could be quite high, depending on the results from the previous group stage games.
NASA is getting into the World Cup spirit in other ways, including views of Brazil and the stadiums from space. NASA has dedicated a Flickr page featuring images of each nation playing in the World Cup and the space agency is sharing views of the Brazilian stadiums on Twitter. Wiseman and Gerst are also sharing views of the World Cup from aboard the ISS on Twitter.
— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) June 12, 2014
On Wednesday, Swanson, Wiseman and Gerst recorded a good luck video, cheering on their teams and hoping for the best World Cup possible. The video included a quick round of soccer, or football, aboard the ISS and can be viewed below.