May 19, 2014

On May 17 ISS-40/41 main and back-up crews took part in traditional events at Baikonur spaceport.

The day started with traditional flag-raising ceremony symbolizing formal beginning of final stage of pre-launch trainings.

Roscosmos cosmonauts Maksim Surayev and Anton Shkaplerov raised the flag of Russia, NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman and Terry Virts – the flag of USA, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst – the flag of Germany and ESA astronaut Samantha Christoforetti  – the flag of Kazakhstan.

Baikonur city and Russian Federal Space Agency representatives greeted the cosmonauts with a word of salutation.

After that ISS-40/41 back-up crew consisting of Anton Shkaplerov, Samantha Christoforetti and  Terry Virts carrying on longstanding tradition a 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. Shkaplerov, S. Christoforetti and T. Virts 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. Anton Shkaplerov, Samantha Christoforetti and Terry Wilmore tried on national Kazakh costumes. After that the crew left signatures in museum’s memorable book.

Image credit: GCTC

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