March 17, 2015

On March 14 ISS-42/44 mission main (Gennady Padalka, Roscosmos; Mikhail Korniyenko, Roscosmos;  Scott Kelly, NASA) and back-up (Alexey Ovchinin, Roscosmos; Sergey Volkov, Roscosmos; Jeffrey Williams, NASA) crews left for Baikonur from Chkalovsky airfield onboard special charters. In several hours the aircrafts successfully landed at Krainiy airfield not far from Baikonur where the cosmonauts will pass their final preparation trainings before the flight.

The cosmonauts have already passed training on Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft final fit check in #254 launchpad integration building and tried on the spacesuits.

On March 16, 2015 Baikonur saw traditional flag-raising ceremony symbolizing the beginning of prelaunch preparations final stage. Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail korniyenko raised the flag of Russia, NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Jeffrey Williams – the flag of USA, Russian back-up crew members Alexey ovchinin and Sergey Volkov – the flag of Kazakhstan.

Federal space agency representatives, Baikonur authorities and GCTC specialists were attending the ceremony.

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