Sunday, October 27, 2013

Soyuz TMA-11M Prime and Back-Up Crews Arrive at Baikonur

Soyuz TMA-11M Prime crew at Baikonur. Credit: federalspace.ru

The prime crew of International Space Station Expedition 38/39 and the backup crew flew out from Chkalovsky airport located near Moscow and arrived at Baikonur, Kazakhstan on Saturday, the press secretary of the Cosmonaut Training Centre, Irina Rogova, told Itar-Tass. Cosmonauts traditionally are carried by two planes to the space launch centre. The first plane with Russian Mikhail Tyurin, NASA astronaut Richard Mastracchio and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata aboard took off at 10:00 Moscow time, and the second plane with the backup crewmembers -- Maxim Surayev, Gregory Wiseman and Alexander Gerst -- took off at 10:20.

Before the flight, the cosmonauts and astronauts said good-bye to their families and were photographed at the Yuri Gagarin monument in cosmonauts' Star City. They will continue training before the orbital expedition. The launch of the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft is planned for November 7.

The Sochi 2014 torch, a symbol of the Winter Olympic Games, will be carried to the ISS aboard the Soyuz. Olympic symbols are on the emblem of the crew and on the spacecraft.

The Soyuz is planned to arrive at the space station in less than six hours.

Credit: ITAR-TASS

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