The day of March 15 started with flag-raising ceremony that has become a longstanding tradition symbolizing formal beginning of final stage of preflight preparation trainings.
Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev raised the flag of Russia while NASA astronauts Stephen Swanson and Barry Wilmore – the flag of USA and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyayev and Elena Serova – the flag of Kazakhstan. At the ceremony Baikonur City authorities and Russian Federal Space Agency representatives said a word of salutation.
After that ISS-39/40 back-up crew comprised by Alexander Samokutyayev, Elena Serova and Barry Wilmore carrying on years long tradition had a tour around the city of Baikonur. During this tour cosmonauts and astronauts get to know more about the city whose history is closely connected with the history of world famous spaceport and learn about Kazakh national traditions.
First of all A. Samokutyayev, E. Serova and B. Wilmore headed for the monument to the Earth’s first ever cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin where city residents greeted the crew. Cosmonauts and astronaut laid the flowers to Gagarin’s monument and then paid the tribute to the memory of legendary designer S.P. Korolev.
Then the back-up crew visited the museum of Baikonur history. Alexander Samokutyayev, Elena Serova and Barry Wilmore tried on national Kazakh costumes. After that the crew left signatures in museum’s memorable book.
Image credit – Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center