Countdown Preparations (L-9 days)

Greetings, once again, now from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in south central Kazakhstan!

We are well into our 4th day here and all is going well.  The first “fit-check” of the Soyuz spacecraft went very well on Friday (L-12 days).  The vehicle is in great shape and we got our opportunity to practice the ingress and strap-in as it will go on launch morning. 

This is my 4th time through this process—twice on backup crews and 2nd time as a prime crew—and I continue to be impressed with the rich history and tradition in this place.  It continues to be largely unknown to many around the world and, particularly, in America.  Our participation in the Russian program as crewmembers goes back to Norm Thagard, who launched on Soyuz TM-21 in 1995 spending over 115 days on the Russian space station Mir.  It was he, along with others who supported and participated in the Shuttle-Mir Program, who blazed the trail of Russian operations for those of us privileged to follow.  They were largely out-of-sight and out-of-mind.  I encourage you to read through the history of the Shuttle-Mir Program.

The coming week will be relatively relaxed with procedure reviews for the different flight phases, docking training on a laptop based simulator, review of Soyuz operations, and continuing preparation of the flight checklists and references.  The pace will pick up significantly on L-5 days.  In the mean time, there is some opportunity to get the many personal details organized.

11 thoughts on “Countdown Preparations (L-9 days)”

  1. The Soyuz sounds incredibly scary to be cooked up in for 3 days as you ascend to the space station. It’s a very small container with 3 people & tons of supplies crammed in. Not sure photos of life aboard the Soyuz have ever been released.

  2. Jeff, I just stumbled upon this and didn’t realize we were even still flying out of Russia on Soyuz. From what I hear we may be doing even more of it if the shuttle is decommissioned, at least until a new craft is made ready. That seems odd to me, who grew up during the Cold War and remember the “space race,” as it were. Hope all goes well with you in your travels. Will you be able to keep blogging from the ISS? Keep us posted.

    Kansas City

  3. God Speed Jeff!

    To you and your comrades there, be safe….but enjoy the ride and the spectacular view from above!

    Thanks for sharing your perspective through your preparations.

    SSG Nebeker

  4. Hey Jeff, I followed your last mission on ISS and i look forward to watching this next mission. Its amazing to watch you guys live in space. You and I have something in common .. a love for science. I am a pro stormchaser (severe weather research) and have been chasing the storms of the USA for about 25 years and i like to skydive too so i can relate to you in some way. Looking forward to all of you on ISS having a great mission. I have been watching ISS coverage and shuttle coverage for years. I have missed only a few shuttle launches over the years. Space is so intresting and truly a challenge. Good Luck and God Speed, Sincerely, Mike P. Rochester, Minnesota

  5. Have a good launch, docking, stay on station, and safe return to earth at the end of your mission! You are not out of sight, as we watch the station overhead at dawn and dusk depending on the orbits!

  6. Jeff,

    Thank-you for taking the time to relate your experiences and insights on space travel, and preparing for it Russian style. I look forward to reading your blog posts, and pray that you and Max and Guy have a safe and successful launch to the ISS on the 30th.

    God Speed.


  7. Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for the news. I learned that first days in space can be worst than a sea-sickness. Is that the case for everybody? Have you been sick during your first flights and do you expect to be again on the third one?
    You made a nice HD video during your first flight, if you can find time to make another one this time I’d be happy to look at it. Enjoy the trip. Greetings from France.

  8. You are entirely right about the average American (me) having no concept of the rich Russian history of the Cosmonaut Program and you have opened a new avenue that had never occured to me!

  9. I’m a 12yr. old 7th grader at Rural Vale School in Tellico Plains, Tn. I am currently working on a project for National History Day and my project is about the Space Shuttle. My research consist of 3 question: What was going on in history before the shuttle? Information about the Shuttle? and What impact has it made in history and how has it changed history? From a astronaut view point would you mind to express your feelings on this. Thank you very much for your input.

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