Everything is progressing smoothly. The Soyuz TMA-16 is in its shroud, or rocket fairing. The weather has been terrific here in Baikonur. Several of us have been running in the desert every day, crossing paths with camels, cows, goats, wild horses, and the occasional shepherd.
Yesterday, we did our final check of the spacecraft before it gets mated to the rocket and prepared to go to the launch pad. All of the cargo was loaded for flight. Everything looked great. We also spent time looking over the new research module launching in November. It also is in very good shape and Max and I look forward to integrating it into the ISS later in the year.
After that we visited the building where the Soyuz-FG booster rocket is being assembled. The 1st and 2nd stages were assembled and the 3rd stage was being readied. Today, the rocket parts all will come together as the team prepares for tomorrow’s rollout.
Our families and friends converged on Moscow over the past several days and will travel today to Kazakhstan. We will get a couple of opportunities to visit with families beginning this evening and all of us on the crew are looking forward to that.