Rocket day

Tuesday was another great day. We started at the market of Baikonur. They sell there almost everything (fruit, flowers, bikes, clothes, army equipment, Kazakhstan souvenirs). 


Another space monument near the train station:





There are 2 trains to the Cosmodrome in the morning and two in the evening. This is the point of departure of one of them:


At noon we were picked up by bus to go to the Cosmodrome. We would see the blessing of the rocket by an Orthodox priest. 

The one hour trip to the Cosmodrome has enough sights to enjoy. This is the VAB where all Soyuz rockets are assembled and at the back (and to the right) you see the Energia building where the Buran was build. The roof collapsed during maintenance of the roof in 2002 (see and one Buran is buried there. 
You also see some other (old) launch pads


The rocket could be seen from a distance. It was on launchpad 1 the same one of the first flight of Yuri Gagarin and of the launch of Sputnik. 

There was some press and we were very close to the rocket. After some minutes a car and a bus arrived. In the car was an Orthodox priest Father Sergei. We would meet him several times that 2 days. In the bus were some officials from Roscosmos. One of them was cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov of Expedition 35/36 (second man on the right).



Afterwards we were able to visit the Cosmodrome museum. Only for a very brief time, so we weren’t able to see everything.
Alex and me in the cockpit of the Buran

The capsule of the space dogs Belka and Strelka

The poster with all the signatures of astronauts just before they went to space

Commemorating the Nedelin disaster


At 5 pm was the press conference. It was really crowded but we had some good seats. Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy was at the press conference and in our hotel the next day. He was a member of Expedition 33/34. The press conference lasted only 45 minutes so there was no time to answer one of our questions. When asked what the crew’s opinion was about the increased tension between Russia and the rest (because of Ukraine) they stated they were friends and hugged each other. Samantha said later that the crew really were friends (and that was not the case with most crews). 


Reid Wiseman waving at his dad who was in the seat right in front of me

Alexander Gerst busy with his phone (only reading not twittering)


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