NASA showed a photo of a “voting booth” built on the International Space Station (ISS) and detailed how its astronauts voted in space,media reported. The tricky part, of course, is the safe transmission of ISS votes to NASA, but the agency has a special system that makes it possible. In 1997, the United States passed a bill that allowed astronaut David Wolf to become the first American to vote in space.
To protect privacy, ISS is equipped with a makeshift polling booth. This week, NASA showed off the structure in a new photo, next to astronaut Kate Rubins, who has voted once in space. How exactly does that process work?
In response, NASA shared an infographic to make the understanding process easier. As you can see, after completing the ballot paper, the data is encrypted and uploaded to the ISS computer. There, ISS uses NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRS) to encrypt ballots and transmit them back to the White Sands complex in New Mexico. But the data spread more than that, with White Sands’ TDRS ground terminal transmitting the data to the Johnson Space Center in Texas. Finally, the Johnson Space Center electronically transmits the data to each astronaut’s county official so they can be properly archived when they vote.