We arrived in Baikanor yesterday! We are here two weeks early to check out our spacecraft and be in quarantine.
Leaving AGAIN was difficult…life has been full of “maybe lasts” for me these last months…leaving Houston and Mike, leaving Boston, mom, dad, Dina, Gorby, Elsie and Thomas, and this last time leaving Star City and all my family there. Sort of emotional, but I know I will see all these friends again!
Change is good and means something else fun is around the corner. Specifically, here in Baikanor we have been doing the fun things you see in the pictures above. But first we were met by a group of kids at the airport sporting gold pompons – not sure what all that was about?!? But certainly memorable. Yesterday essentially all we had was dinner and a couple of review sessions about what we were going to do today at the suit up building, no. 254.
Today we actually got in our space suits and in our space craft. It is the last time we will see it without it’s protective covering until launch. Next time we see it, she will be under her “glavni opticatal” on so we won’t see her outsides until after we dock.
Some quick impressions were again, everything seems like a last for me. Not sure why, but surely this time is different from being a backup. Saw some wild horses in the plains on our way to the suit up building – certainly is the wild, wild east out here.
I feel really comfortable in my suit and in the spacecraft. Maybe it is the test pilot in me that makes all this stuff seem very natural. What is un-natural and uncomfortable for me still is talking to the many people and the press. For some reason I get sort of chocked up. Flying spacecraft is easier for me…
Happy 4th of July everyone!!!! Tomorrow is actually our flag raising ceremony. I can’t think of a better place to be on this day for this event. Tom Marshburn (our backup American) and I will raise the American flag here at the cosmonaut hotel. Aki of course will raise the Japanese flag, Yuri and Roman will raise the Russian flag and Chris Hadfield will raise the Kazakh flag this time around since he is backup. Next time when he is prime he will raise his native Canadian flag. There is always a kazach flag raised here as we are in their country.
Looking forward to it and will send more pictures!
Take care, s