Baikonur Spaceport, Soyuz TMA-10M launch tour
We are glad to share with you our latest news and photos of our exclusive Baikonur Spaceport tour with Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft launch observation. The crew consisted of commander Oleg Kotov (Roscosmos) and flight engineers Sergey Ryazansky (Roscosmos) and Michael Hopkins (NASA).
This time crew’s family members, friends and tourists from Russia and Germany attended our tour. The guests spent 5 warm September days at Baikonur spaceport visiting prelaunch events, observing the city and getting ready to see the crew off to the ISS.
The roll-out of the rocket early in the morning was one of the tour’s most spectacular events. We watched the process of rocket transportation and installation onto the launchpad. After that according to the plan we visited Soyuz spaceships integration building, where final stage of crews’ trainings take place and where the spacecrafts are finally tested before the launch. In the afternoon according to tradition we visited Baikonur International Space School where we learned how future aerospace industry specialists are being prepared and examined museum exhibits.
Baikonur Spaceport History Museum and general sightseeing tour of Baikonur city were are also an obligatory part of the program. And the most important event of the day was meeting with the crew at the press-conference in “Cosmonaut” hotel. Both crews along with operational crew stay within the hotel’s territory in quarantine regime, the admission is by order only and even meetings with crews’ family members are strictly planned by doctors. During the press-conference taking place in a special hall both main and back-up crews were separated from the journalists by the glass. By the way it is Roscosmos cosmonauts Kotov and Ryazansky to perform a spacewalk with Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch in November and this topic was of great interest for Mass Media.
We walked through the city, bought space souvenirs and after short rest it was high time to get ready to the most important prelaunch operations. At 21.00 local time the crews greeted with applause and the famous space song left Cosmonaut hotel for the spaceport. At 00.00 the guests met the cosmonauts already wearing spacesuits at the place where official report on the readiness for the launch was to be made. After late supper at the spaceport, discussions of the launch and best wishes to the cosmonauts we visited Spaceport museum, Korolev and Gagarin historical houses and Buran shuttle. At the observation point we were surprised to meet Gerard Depardieu who came to see the launch and gladly photographed and talked to other guests.
On September 26 at 00.58 Moscow time Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft was successfully launched from #1 launchpad (Gagarin launch) of Baikonur spaceport with the help of Soyuz-FG booster.
It is worth mentioning that the launch was splendid! The visibility was perfect, the sky – clear and the roar of the rocket flying higher and higher echoed in our hearts. But that wonderful moment was not still the end of our adventure! It was the 3rd time the crew flew to the ISS according to the short 4-orbit rendezvous scheme which means that 6 hours after the launch the cosmonauts dock with the ISS. It is great that our Baikonur guests had the opportunity to observe the docking on-line. After successful docking there was another even more emotional moment when the cosmonauts arrived met the cosmonauts waiting for them onboard and after that the families of the crew members could talk to them directly from Baikonur. And that was indeed a magnificent end of our Baikonur mission.
We wish the cosmonauts to accomplish successfully their ISS mission and wait for new Baikonur spaceport tour guests!