Why astronauts get slapped in the face with a cross before going to space

See the original posting on The Verge

Astronauts leave nothing to chance, and alongside the checks and double-checks carried out before a rocket launches, there’s a clutch of rituals that have taken root in the world of space travel. Perhaps the oddest of these (at least visually) is the official blessing dished out by a priest from the Russian Orthodox Church. American astronauts, Russian cosmonauts, and even rockets all go through this, with photos from NASA’s official photographer showing that the same bearded and gowned official has been carrying out the ritual with gusto for a few years now.

The photo at the top actually shows a member of the Russian Search and Recovery Forces gettin’ a blessin’, but our priest has been carrying out his job with gusto for a while now.

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