ISS EXP 52 launch (2017) Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
T-0, 28 July 2017: Trail blazing, Launch Day
Soyuz MS-05 Launches at Sunset to the International Space Station from Baikonur
The launch was at once awe-inspiring, thrilling and terrifying. I felt the sonic boom, the heat wave, earthly vibrations, the time-disconnect between what I saw and heard, noting how we collectively held our breaths until we saw the last little "phff" as the Soyuz left the outer atmosphere some 08:40 into flight. Knowing that humans are on board, changes everything. The crew carry all our hearts and hopes with them into space. I see now that many pre-flight preparations are for ensuring our readiness levels. Many pre-flight traditions acknowledges and enage teams and individuals who work to ensure the mission success: from the engineers, to the policy-makers, local custodians, to family and friends. The short yet intense experience profoundly expanded my awareness of the generosity and capacity of the crew, compounded my appreciation for the international cooperation of space, and fueled my desire for participating in human spaceflight as a full crew member. So much for flying there to support Paolo. I see now, that the experience enabled me to visualise and walk in my own footsteps towards new discovery. Every emotion that I had experienced had been encapsulated in the technical refinement and artistic expression of the children's exhibits at the Baikonur International Space School earlier that morning too.
Early morning Baikonur: International Space School Tour
International Space School Baikonur exhibits of “Orlan” space suit, space capsule, a model rocket classroom and first "Valentina' Babushka doll. Baikonur Kasakstahn, 28 July 2017.
Early afternoon: Visit Cosmonauts Alley
Sarah Jane "tree hugging" Yuri Gugarin's memorial tree; Exp 52 Crew memorial trees planted for their first missions, at the "Cosmonauts Alley", Baikonur Kasakstahn, 28 July 2017.
Farewell the crew as they leave the “Cosmonaut” hotel, and then "Planet Earth"
Farewell the Crew as they leave the “Cosmonaut” hotel to the spaceport with Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova and other dignetaries. Visit Cosmonauts Alley. Transfer to the launch site num.2. Waiting for spacecraft launch within the airconditioning of the Baikonur spaceport museum. Transfer to the viewing point, taking place; Watching the launch of the “Soyuz” rocket carrier (from a distance of 1.4 kilometers from a launch site); Crew safely to orbit in nine minutes. Salute with Vodka. I am beyond words.